Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel http://www.centralmaine.com Features news from the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine and Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine. Sat, 25 Nov 2017 04:43:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 Flat-Earther’s rocket launch hits a speed bump http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/flat-earthers-rocket-launch-hits-a-speed-bump/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/flat-earthers-rocket-launch-hits-a-speed-bump/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 02:48:01 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/flat-earthers-rocket-launch-hits-a-speed-bump/ A California man who planned to launch himself 1,800 feet high on Saturday in a homemade scrap-metal rocket – in an effort to “prove” that Earth is flat – said he is postponing the experiment after he couldn’t get permission from a federal agency to do so on public land.

Instead, Mike Hughes said the launch will take place sometime next week on private property, albeit still in Amboy, California, a community in the Mojave Desert along historic Route 66.

“It’s still happening. We’re just moving it three miles down the road,” Hughes told The Washington Post on Friday. “This is what happens any time you have to deal with any kind of government agency.”

Hughes claimed the Bureau of Land Management said he couldn’t launch his rocket as planned on Saturday in Amboy. He also claimed the federal agency had given him verbal permission more than a year ago, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

Representatives from the BLM and the FAA did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.

Assuming the 500-mph, mile-long flight through the Mojave Desert does not kill him, Hughes told the Associated Press, his journey into the “atmosflat” will mark the first phase of his ambitious flat-Earth space program.

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Affidavit: Woman lied during gun buy http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/affidavit-woman-lied-during-gun-buy/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/affidavit-woman-lied-during-gun-buy/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 02:33:24 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/affidavit-woman-lied-during-gun-buy/ An Augusta woman faces a federal firearms charge after allegedly buying guns for her drug dealer in Rochester, New York.

Samantha Bailey, 29, is scheduled to make an initial appearance within the next two weeks in U.S. District Court in Bangor. She was summoned to court on the complaint, which accuses her of buying two Taurus 9 mm pistols in February at North Augusta Firearms, and falsely saying she was the actual buyer when she was not.

The complaint, charging her with making false statements to a federal firearms licensee, was filed Monday. The charge carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

An affidavit by Christopher Concannon, special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who investigated the case, said Bailey told him she “was a heroin user and that she had bought the firearms for her drug dealer who was from New York.”

Concannon said Bailey indicated she was told what guns to buy and that two associates of the drug dealer took her to the firearms dealer and one gave her the money for the purchases.

Video surveillance footage shows Bailey completing the paperwork for the purchase, Concannon said. North Augusta Firearms is on Burns Road.

“Bailey admitted that she had been paid in heroin for purchasing the firearms for her drug dealer,” Concannon wrote in the affidavit, which was filed in the court.

One of the pistols was recovered later when police in Rochester “investigated a domestic disturbance during which her drug dealer reportedly discharged a firearm.” The firearm was recovered from a vehicle, and then the manufacturer’s box for it and the box for the second firearm were recovered when police executed a search warrant at the scene of the May 23 domestic dispute. The affidavit does not indicate that the second firearm was recovered.

The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Jody Mullis. Attorney Terence Harrigan represents Bailey.

Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: betadams;https

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Trump: U.S. will stop arming Kurds who fought Islamic State http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/trump-u-s-will-stop-arming-kurds-who-fought-islamic-state/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/trump-u-s-will-stop-arming-kurds-who-fought-islamic-state/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 02:30:04 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/trump-u-s-will-stop-arming-kurds-who-fought-islamic-state/ ANKARA, Turkey — The United States will cut off its supply of arms to Kurdish fighters in Syria, President Trump told the Turkish president on Friday, in a move sure to please Turkey but further alienate Syrian Kurds who bore much of the fight against the Islamic State group.

In a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump said he’d “given clear instructions” that the Kurds will receive no more weapons – “and that this nonsense should have ended a long time ago,” said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The White House confirmed the move in a cryptic statement about the phone call that said Trump had informed the Turk of “pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria.”

The White House called the move “consistent with our previous policy” and noted the recent fall of Raqqa, once the Islamic State group’s self-declared capital but recently liberated by a largely Kurdish force. The Trump administration announced in May it would start arming the Kurds in anticipation of the fight to retake Raqqa.

“We are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return,” the White House said, using an acronym for the extremist group.

The move could help ease strained tensions between the U.S. and Turkey, two NATO allies that have been sharply at odds about how best to wage the fight against the extremists. Turkey considers the Kurdish Syrian fighters, known by the initials YPG, to be terrorists because of their affiliation to outlawed Kurdish rebels that have waged a three decade-long insurgency in Turkey.

Yet the U.S. chose to partner with the YPG in Syria anyway, arguing that the battle-hardened Kurds were the most effective fighting force available.

For the Kurds, it was the latest demoralizing blow to their hopes for greater recognition in the region. Last month, the Kurds in neighboring Iraq saw their recent territorial gains erased by the Iraqi military, which seized the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and other disputed areas from the Kurdish regional government in retaliation for a Kurdish independence referendum that the U.S. ardently opposed.

Trump’s decision appeared to catch both the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department off guard. Officials at both agencies, who would normally be informed of changes in U.S. policy toward arming the Syrian Kurds, said they were unaware of any changes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

It was unclear whether the Trump administration notified the Kurds of the move before telling the Turks. Nor was it clear how much significance the change would have on the ground, considering the fight against IS is almost over.

The United States has been arming the Kurds in their fight against IS through an umbrella group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, which is comprised of Kurdish as well as Arab fighters. But the retreat of IS, which has lost nearly all its territory in Syria, has altered the dynamics in the region and a U.S. defense official said he was unaware of any additional arms scheduled to be transferred to the Kurds, even before the Turkish announcement.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/trump-u-s-will-stop-arming-kurds-who-fought-islamic-state/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292954_Russia_Syria_Summit_07684.j.jpgRussian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet at the start of talks Tuesday in Russia. Erdogan has opposed the U.S. arming of Syrian Kurds to fight the Islamic State.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:30:04 +0000
Watchdog newspaper carrier will retire http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/watchdog-newspaper-carrier-will-retire/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/watchdog-newspaper-carrier-will-retire/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 02:15:50 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/watchdog-newspaper-carrier-will-retire/ STRONG — Kay Brackley heads out to work in the early morning hours regardless of the weather.

The 74-year-old Strong resident knows when something is not right as she drives her route delivering newspapers in Franklin and Kennebec counties. She can be credited with saving several lives over the years and for being a watchdog for the communities she travels through.

“You do it night after night and you know what lights are on at houses and what cars are in the yard,” Brackley said. “You get to know your customers.”

She plans to retire from her job Dec. 30.

She has delivered the Sun Journal for 28 years. In 2002 she also started delivering the Morning Sentinel and took on the Maine Sunday Telegram and The Franklin Journal deliveries along the way, too.

Her experience of knowing her customers factored into her calling the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office when she noticed an older woman’s paper had not been taken out of a paper tube for three days. It wasn’t normal. Deputies went up to check on the woman and discovered she had suffered a stroke and was lying on the floor of her home, Brackley said.

Another time, an older woman who received both the Sun Journal and the Morning Sentinel had gone out to feed the birds early in the morning. Brackley drove up the long driveway and found the woman lying on the ground. She had fallen and broken a hip.

These are just two of the incidents she has come across. Another was a fire caused by wood stove ashes outside a home without the family knowing it.

Then there was a young woman who ran out in front of her vehicle. The woman wasn’t dressed for the snow and frigid temperatures. It turned out her boyfriend had thrown her out. The sheriff’s office sent a deputy to help.

Brackley says she has enjoyed the job.

“It has been very good for me because I have gotten many compliments and many awards,” Brackley said. “I try to treat my customers the way I would want my paper delivered. I treat people the way I want to be treated. I do think it has paid off.”

She remembers when her mother received the newspaper years ago and it was sometimes wet. She would lay it out to dry. This was before there were bags to put the paper in during inclement weather.

Brackley makes sure the paper is where her customers want it.

“I’m going to miss my customers,” she said. “My customers have been very good to me and I appreciate them.”

She enjoys her time alone on the road.

“It’s my time. It’s quiet. There is no hassle as long as you deliver your papers and do it right,” she said. “I will miss my time on the road. I will probably miss that the most.”

She will also miss the spending money she earns delivering newspapers.

Brackley gets up at midnight without an alarm clock waking her.

She hopes to break her irregular sleep pattern once she retires. Currently she sleeps four hours after she finishes her route in the morning and four hours before she heads out again.

She figures she will adjust her schedule to not get up at midnight, though some people have warned her it might be difficult at first.

When she puts down her “mail hawk,” a long-handled gripper she uses to deliver papers on the right, she has plans for herself.

“I am going to knit. I am going to crochet. I am going to paint pictures and ceramics. I am going to fix up the interior of my house,” she said.

Donna M. Perry can be contacted at:

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

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Double-amputee runner gets 13 years for girlfriend’s murder http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/double-amputee-runner-gets-13-years-for-girlfriends-murder/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/double-amputee-runner-gets-13-years-for-girlfriends-murder/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 02:11:53 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/double-amputee-runner-gets-13-years-for-girlfriends-murder/ A court in South Africa on Friday more than doubled the prison sentence for Oscar Pistorius to 13 years and five months for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp.

Pistorius, who gained fame as a double-amputee runner who competed in the 2012 Olympics, fatally shot Steenkamp four times through a closed bathroom door at his home in Pretoria in the early hours of Valentine’s Day in 2013. Pistorius claimed he thought Steenkamp was an intruder.

Under a 2015 murder conviction, Pistorius was sentenced to six years in prison.

On Friday, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal called that sentence “shockingly lenient,” and more than doubled it after unanimously upholding an appeal by prosecutors, the Associated Press reported.

Under the new sentence, the earliest Pistorius will be eligible for parole is 2023, according to the AP.

The lengthened sentence was another twist in a protracted legal battle over the case.

Pistorius, 31, was originally convicted in September 2014 of culpable homicide, or manslaughter in the United States, and later sentenced to five years in prison.

“I am of the view that a noncustodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community, but a long sentence would not be appropriate because it would lack the elements of mercy,” Judge Thokozile Masipa said at the sentencing.

In 2015, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal overturned Masipa’s culpable homicide conviction and instead found Pistorius guilty of murder, a more severe charge that, under South African law, carries a minimum sentence of 15 years.

The decision sent Pistorius back to court for resentencing. Masipa, the trial judge, sentenced Pistorius to six years in prison for murder, effectively only adding a year to his culpable homicide sentence. The decision shocked many who had expected a sentence of between 10 and 15 years, with credit for time already served.

Still, Masipa said she had found reasons for the lighter sentence:

Among the mitigating factors cited by Masipa were that Pistorius was vulnerable at the time of the shooting, walking on his stumps rather than his prosthesis; that he believed the person in the bathroom was an intruder and that he had taken genuine steps to save her life after realizing what he had done.

In addition, she said, he had demonstrated remorse, apologizing to Steenkamp’s parents in the courtroom, after they had refused to see him and accept his apology in person.

He remains, she said, “a good candidate” for rehabilitation. In addition, she said, “he has already spent some time,” 12 months, serving his original sentence. And, she added, he is not a violent person.

It remains to be seen if Friday’s decision by South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal will mean the end of Pistorius’s legal saga. According to the AP, his lawyers can still challenge the lengthened sentence with South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

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Massachusetts museum looks for big place to show its restored 1848 whaling panorama http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/massachusetts-museum-looks-for-big-place-to-show-its-restored-1848-whaling-panorama/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/massachusetts-museum-looks-for-big-place-to-show-its-restored-1848-whaling-panorama/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 01:20:37 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/massachusetts-museum-looks-for-big-place-to-show-its-restored-1848-whaling-panorama/ NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A museum has restored the longest painting in North America so it can share the story of American whaling with the public.

The quarter-mile-long panorama toured the U.S. after it was completed in 1848. A section was featured at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

But the panorama deteriorated after so much traveling on wagons and trains, rolling and unrolling. Paint dried up and flaked off, and the panorama was put into storage.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum enlisted the help of a textile conservator to fix the “Grand Panorama of a Whaling Voyage Round the World.” Now it’s searching for a large venue to display it, scouting locations in New Bedford but open to considering Providence, Rhode Island, or the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.

D. Jordan Berson, who’s managing the project, said he hopes this record of American whaling can eventually return to some of the cities that were stops on the national tour, including Boston; Buffalo, New York; and St. Louis.

“It’s a national treasure that’s been out of the spotlight for too long,” he said.

Benjamin Russell and Caleb Purrington created the panorama to capture all aspects of a whaling voyage. The panorama would be mounted on a system of cranks and reels to go across a theater stage as a narrator told stories of hunting whales and processing their carcasses. A poster for the Boston stop in 1849 advertises tickets for 25 cents.

The audience members would hear what it was like to round Cape Horn and visit Fiji and other far-flung destinations as they saw painted scenes of those locations. Most people hadn’t traveled to any of those places, and photography was in its infancy.

Many young men at that time were headed west in search of gold, which meant they weren’t joining whaling crews, said Michael Dyer, the museum’s curator of maritime history. The panorama may have been used as a recruiting tool, he said.

“It serves as a pictorial documentation of whaling in a way almost nothing else does,” he said.

The museum has spent $400,000 to conserve, digitize and store the panorama. The money was raised from individual donors, private foundations and government grants.

Berson spent a year spraying the panorama with an adhesive to stabilize a paint layer that had powdered over time. The conservator stitched sections that were taken apart, repaired thinning areas of the cotton muslin fabric and fixed holes and tears. Every section has been photographed and merged into a large digital image so it can be shown moving to replicate the original experience.

The restored artwork will be static when it’s displayed, meaning the museum needs to find a room that’s at least 16,000 square feet, Berson said.

The panorama is about 1,300 feet long and 8 feet tall. The museum’s chief curator, Christina Connett, said she’s confident it’s the longest painting in North America and she knows of no longer moving panorama in the world.

The last time the panorama was displayed in its entirety was in 1969, when it was unfurled in a former furniture store on an island off New Bedford, Dyer said.

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Waterville’s Parade of Lights entrances young spectators http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/watervilles-parade-of-lights-entrances-young-spectators/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/watervilles-parade-of-lights-entrances-young-spectators/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:46:40 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/watervilles-parade-of-lights-entrances-young-spectators/ WATERVILLE — Downtown Waterville came alive Friday night with holiday spirit and family cheer as the annual Parade of Lights made its way along Main Street to Kringleville, Santa’s central Maine mini-village in Castonguay Square.

Families of children young and old lined both sides of the street — 10 people deep in most places, eyes wide at the lights and music.

“They’re coming! They’re coming!” one little boy clad in a New England Patriots cap and winter coat exclaimed from atop his father’s shoulder as the first lights of the night approached.

There were cars and trucks and vans and a parade of Jeeps, which a couple of the children in the crowd seemed to like.

Alayna McMahon, 10, visiting Waterville from Greenville with her parents, Kelly and Michelle, said the spectacle really got her into the Christmas spirit.

“What I like about the Waterville parade is how people come out and show their experience of how people love Christmas,” she said. “They show people that Christmas is a special time of year. I like the Jeeps. They’re really neat.”

Her friend Matthew, 9, at the parade with parents Kirby and Sherri Reardon, of Sidney, agreed. He liked the Jeeps, too.

“I like the part of the vehicles coming in and out with lights on them and the music,” he said.

The Santa Claus residence returned to the square earlier this week after a three-year hiatus, during which time the Jolly Old Elf visited children inside The Center on Main Street. A gingerbread house — large enough for children to visit — also is featured in the square.

The events were organized for the first time this year by the Children’s Discovery Museum instead of Waterville Main Street. Tracy O’Clair, who was hired last year to organize the parade and Kringleville, was asked this year to help with the transition. Christmas lights on a giant spruce tree donated by Joe Lemieux, of Fairfield, also were turned on.

Kirby Reardon, a teacher at the downtown Skowhegan campus of the Cornville Regional Charter School, said he remembers coming to downtown Waterville when he was little from Dexter, where he grew up, visiting Levine’s clothing store and the Hathaway Shirt Co. He said the revitalization of downtown Waterville since a slow decline in the 1990s is encouraging.

“We’ve been coming every year for the last five years and it’s wonderful,” he said. “It’s a great kickoff for the holiday season. It’s just a fun atmosphere.”

His wife, Sherri, added that the exhilaration of a Christmas parade is for the whole family.

“Kids love coming to the after-Thanksgiving festival — free candy, Santa, lights, parade, people,” she said.

Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus rode atop one of 25 floats in the parade, waving to the people lining the parade route. The grand marshal was Paul Ureneck, director of commercial real estate for Elm City LLC, an affiliate of Colby College.

Parade participants Friday night included police and fire department floats, Scouts, Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, Skills Inc., Messalonskee Trail Riders, area churches, dancers

After the parade, children were invited to line up to visit Santa in his house, and Girl Scouts sold hot chocolate in the square. The Children’s Book Cellar at 52 Main St. will host book readings at the store while Kringleville is open, and the Children’s Discovery Museum will have an activity center in the annex of Common Street Arts inside The Center.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

dharlow@centralmaine.com

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

 

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/watervilles-parade-of-lights-entrances-young-spectators/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780278_582384-20171124-parade-of-l.jpgThe annual Parade of Lights marches down Main Street on Friday in downtown Waterville.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:36:35 +0000
Pope issues call to stop treating migrants as a threat http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/pope-issues-call-to-stop-treating-migrants-as-a-threat/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/pope-issues-call-to-stop-treating-migrants-as-a-threat/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:45:45 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/pope-issues-call-to-stop-treating-migrants-as-a-threat/ VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis decried as worrisome those who whip up fear of migrants for political gain as he urged people Friday to view global migration as a peace-building opportunity and not as a threat.

His message, which was issued in eight languages, was issued by the Vatican in preparation for the Catholic church’s annual World Peace Day, which it marks on Jan. 1.

Without citing any nation, Francis said many countries where migrants and refugees have gone have seen “the spread of rhetoric decrying the risks posed to national security or the high cost of welcoming new arrivals.”

Francis added: “Those who, for what may be political reasons, foment fear of migrants instead of building peace are sowing violence, racial discrimination and xenophobia, which are matters of great concern for all those concerned for the safety of every human being.”

Anti-migrant politics have been gaining currency in many places in Europe, including in the Vatican’s backyard in Italy, where populist and right-wing parties are keen on making gains in national elections next year.

Francis noted that all indications point to global migration continuing for the future.

“Some consider this a threat,” he said. “For my part, I ask you to view it with confidence as an opportunity to build peace.”

Francis expressed his “heartfelt hope” that in 2018, the United Nations would “draft and approve two Global Compacts, one for safe, orderly and regular migration and the other for refugees.”

He also suggested that less wealthy countries could take in more refugees if the international community provided the necessary funds.

After noting that there are 250 million migrants worldwide, including some 22.5 million refugees, Francis said government leaders “have a clear responsibility toward their own communities, whose legitimate rights and harmonious development they must ensure.”

However, that he said, could be done while still welcoming, protecting and integrating migrants into their societies.

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Boston man charged with sex trafficking, kidnapping in Maine http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/boston-man-charged-with-sex-trafficking-kidnapping-in-maine/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/boston-man-charged-with-sex-trafficking-kidnapping-in-maine/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:41:36 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/boston-man-charged-with-sex-trafficking-kidnapping-in-maine/ A Boston man faces federal charges after he allegedly forced two women into prostitution in Maine and then attempted to take them to Massachusetts to continue in prostitution.

In an indictment unsealed Tuesday in federal court in Portland, Rashad “Jose” Sabree, 37, faces two counts of sex trafficking, two counts of kidnapping and one count of interstate transportation for the purposes of engaging in prostitution.

Sabree will face a maximum sentence of life in prison on the kidnapping charges, 15 years to life in prison for sex trafficking and up to 10 years on the interstate transportation charge if he’s convicted. Each charge also calls for a fine of up to $250,000.

Portions of the indictment of Sabree are still sealed, but it alleges that in December 2015, he forced two women into prostitution in Maine. In early January 2016, the indictment alleges, Sabree took the two, against their will, to Massachusetts to continue in prostitution.

Documents filed in federal court indicate that Sabree does not yet have a lawyer.

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KENNEBEC JOURNAL GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER OF THE YEAR: Fate led Maranacook’s Molly McGrail to cross country, success http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/kennebec-journal-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-fate-led-maranacooks-molly-mcgrail-to-cross-country-success/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/kennebec-journal-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-fate-led-maranacooks-molly-mcgrail-to-cross-country-success/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:33:55 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/kennebec-journal-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-fate-led-maranacooks-molly-mcgrail-to-cross-country-success/ Like many athletic success stories, Molly McGrail’s began by chance.

As a sixth grader, the Maranacook Community High School sophomore hoped to play soccer.

“They wouldn’t allow sixth graders to play soccer,” McGrail said.

That left cross country as an option and she jumped at it. Turns out McGrail was pretty good at it, too.

She was the top runner on the team as a freshman and continued holding that mantle this fall where she and her teammates came with a whisker of winning the Class C state championship.

For her effort, McGrail has been selected Kennebec Journal Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

McGrail is just scratching her potential according to Maranacook coach Roselea Kimball. She finished first on the team in every race this season.

“She’s definitely stronger,” Kimball said. “She’s better at knowing how to train and just knowing how to race.”

McGrail finished sixth in the Class C state meet, 29 seconds behind the winner and two seconds ahead of her time as a freshman.

“She had a stitch in her side,” Kimball said. “It slowed her down.”

After winning the South regional title on the same course in Cumberland, the Black Bears fell a point short to Orono for the state championship.

McGrail fared better against tougher competition at the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference meet, which has just Class A and Class B divisions, finishing second. She credits her success to physical growth and preseason training and really isn’t disappointed at any of her results this season.

“I’m happy about all my races,” she said.

She finished second at the Mt. Blue Relays,a two-mile event that features some of the top runners in Class A. The fact that race is a mile or so shorter that the traditional 5K races during the season highlights on of McGrail’s strengths — her speed.

She participates in outdoor track in the spring and unlike many of her cross country counterparts. Runs some of the shorter events. McGrail placed fifth in the state meet in the 800 meter run and 7th in the 400 meter dash. Also as a freshman, she anchored the 4×400 relay team

A year of experience has served her well, as Kimball puts it “just knowing yourself and knowing your competitors.”

McGrail’s racing strategy mirrors that of a lot of the state’s top runners.

“I try to run my mile splits as consistently as I can she said, then I try to push myself the last mile.”

McGrail is already into the winter season where she is a member of the school’s Alpine ski team and success will likely come to her there as well.

“She’s just going to keep getting stronger,” Kimball said.

As far as goals go, McGrail’s aren’t necessarily lofty or for that matter even articulated.

“I just try to give it my best and have fun,” she said. “I love my team.”

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/kennebec-journal-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-fate-led-maranacooks-molly-mcgrail-to-cross-country-success/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780275_707169_20171115_molly_mcgra.jpgMaranacook Community High School's Molly McGrail is the Kennebec Journal Girls Cross Country Runner of the YearFri, 24 Nov 2017 19:50:29 +0000
Swedish Lutherans urge use of gender-neutral words for God http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/swedish-lutherans-urge-use-of-gender-neutral-words-for-god/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/swedish-lutherans-urge-use-of-gender-neutral-words-for-god/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:16:28 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/swedish-lutherans-urge-use-of-gender-neutral-words-for-god/ STOCKHOLM — The Church of Sweden is urging its clergy to use gender-neutral language when referring to the supreme deity, refraining from using terms like “Lord” and “He” in favor of the less specific “God.”

The move is one of several taken by the national Evangelical Lutheran church in updating a 31-year-old handbook setting out how services should be conducted in terms of language, liturgy, hymns and other aspects.

The decision was taken Thursday at the end of an eight-day meeting of the church’s 251-member decision-making body, and takes effect May 20 on the Christian holiday of Pentecost.

A former state church, headquartered in Uppsala, the church has 6.1 million baptized members in a country of 10 million. It is headed by a woman, Archbishop Antje Jackelen.

Jackelen told Sweden’s TT news agency a more inclusive language had already been discussed at the 1986 conference.

“Theologically, for instance, we know that God is beyond our gender determinations, God is not human,” Jackelen was quoted as saying by TT.

The change was met with criticism, however. Christer Pahlmblad, an associate theology professor with Sweden’s Lund University, told Denmark’s Kristeligt Dagblad that the move was “undermining the doctrine of the Trinity and the community with the other Christian churches.”

“It really isn’t smart if the Church of Sweden becomes known as a church that does not respect the common theology heritage,” he said.

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Basketball teams begin finding their baseline http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/basketball-teams-begin-finding-their-baseline/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/basketball-teams-begin-finding-their-baseline/#respond Sat, 25 Nov 2017 00:15:32 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/basketball-teams-begin-finding-their-baseline/ AUGUSTA — The Augusta Civic Center is where many of the area’s high school basketball teams want to play in February, when the tournament begins. For the 10 teams that played exhibition basketball at the Civic Center Friday, starting the season on that court was an early reminder of goals yet to accomplish.

“This is the main goal for everybody. Hopefully we’ll be back here in February,” Hall-Dale forward Ashtyn Abbott said.

Hall-Dale may have made the best impression Friday. The Class C Bulldogs took on a pair of Class AA schools, two-time defending state champion Portland, and Bangor. Hall-Dale held a three-point lead over Portland at the half, before falling, 64-58. A few hours later, Hall-Dale led Bangor by as many as 15 points in the first half, taking a 72-65 win. Acquitting themselves well against much larger schools was a good first step for the Bulldogs, coach Chris Ranslow said.

“You could tell there was first preseason jitters out there early on against Portland. Missing free throws, missing defensive assignments, missing layuups,” Ranslow said. “I was kind of worried in game two against Bangor, a prolific program, a good point guard, that we were going to have a little bit of a letdown, but we didn’t see it.”

Each of Maine’s five basketball classes was represented at the Augusta Civic Center: Class AA (Portland and Bangor), Class A (Messalonskee, Erskine, and Westbrook), Class B (Leavitt and Foxcroft), Class C (Hall-Dale and Richmond), and Class D (Greenville). Games were played with two 20 minute halves, with running time until the final two minutes of each half.

The Civic Center didn’t quite have a tournament feel. The bleachers behind the team benches were tucked away behind curtains, along with the baseline bleachers that come February will be full of cheering students. Still, it was an opportunity to play on the court, to get a feel for the shooting sight lines that are unlike any high school gym these in which these teams will play.

“Anytime there’s an opening where basketball is being played here, Messalonskee is going to play here. Any time the kids can get experience, it’s good,” Messalonskee coach Peter McLaughlin, whose team won the Class A North title at the Augusta Civic Center last season, said.

McLaughlin’s Eagles dropped a pair of games Friday, to Westbrook (36-25) and Portland (48-39). The results were less important than the experience, McLaughlin said, especially playing against strong guards like Portland’s Terion Moss, arguably the top player in the state.

“Playing Westbrook and Portland, I knew we were going to have really good guard competition. Some of our returning players are guards. Chase Warren, Tucker Charles, they go head-to-head in practice, but I wanted to see them working together and going against that same level of competition,” McLaughlin said. “I just want to go out compete, see where we are. Find that baseline. I thought we had a good three days of tryouts and a little bit of a walk through before we came here. Really, no expectations. Just come in and work. We’ve got film now. We’re going to sit down now and we’re going to learn a little bit. We’re going to grow.”

Hall-Dale showed that shooting the three is going to be a strength once again.

“We’ve got some guys who can shoot it. It’s all about understanding and identifying where our advantage is and then following that advantage. We’re still working to be in triangles, getting stronger, and then some defensive opportunities going up against a big kid,” Ranslow said.

Playing well against a pair of teams two classes higher than themselves can only help the Bulldogs once they enter Mountain Valley Conference competition on Dec. 9 against Telstar, Abbott said.

“I thought we played really good team defense. We communicated really well, being unselfish. We rebounded against bigger opponents. I thought today was a success for us,” Abbott said. “It’s just a bigger motivation for us. Working, getting better, and going after those big teams. It pushes us to get better.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/basketball-teams-begin-finding-their-baseline/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780269_385908-20171124_PreSeasonHo.jpgMessalonskee's Chase Warren dribbles the ball Friday at the Augusta Civic Center.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 19:15:32 +0000
MS GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY RUNNER OF THE YEAR: Winslow’s Olivia Tiner enjoys strong debut season http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/ms-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-winslows-olivia-tiner-enjoys-strong-debut-season/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/ms-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-winslows-olivia-tiner-enjoys-strong-debut-season/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 23:55:27 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/ms-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-winslows-olivia-tiner-enjoys-strong-debut-season/ A newcomer to high school cross country and still a novice to the sport, Winslow High School freshman Olivia Tiner had to overcome the initial nervousness that comes with a unknown situation.

“I had no idea how I was going to stack up against all the big kids,” Tiner said. “I went from being in eighth grade and the top (runner) in the school to very small.”

Tiner more than stacked up against the best runners. She became one of them. Tiner’s debut season included a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Northern Maine Class B championships, along with a top 10 finish at the Class B state meet. For her efforts, Olivia Tiner is the Morning Sentinel Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

“Olivia is a very capable athlete who reaches down and tries the best she can,” Dr. John Salvato, Winslow’s cross country coach, said. “I was just expecting her to enjoy the sport and have fun.”

Tiner said she began to feel comfortable racing against high school competition a few meets into the season.

“After first two meets or so, I got back into the groove again. Competition makes me really, really nervous, but the team was really supportive and they were great. The calmed me down,” Tiner said.

Tiner was disappointed by here performance in the Laliberte preseason race, and used that as the springboard for improvement.

“I’m a freshman, I have time to improve. I have a great coach who is going to help me, so this is what I’m going to fix. I just focused on that rather than what I did wrong,” Tiner said.

By improving her breathing, for example, Tiner was able to overcome problems that seemed to hit her each race.

“For some reason, I just kept cramping up. I don’t know if it’s because I have the tiny lung capacity or what, but every single race I started cramping up,” Tiner said.

Things began to fall into place for Tiner at the Festival of Champions in Belfast on Sept. 30. The race features the top runners in the state, along with strong out of state competition. Tiner ran the Troy Howard Middle School course in 19:21.28, placing 22nd in a field of more than 750 runners.

“That was pretty nerve-wracking, that race. I didn’t really expect much of myself. It’s huge here. There’s so many people. I was really nervous. Then I realized I’m doing better. I’m improving. That’s all I worry about when I run, just to do my best,” Tiner said.

As she prepared for the conference and regional championships, Tiner’s knew she wanted to get out faster. At the Festival of Champions, she was part of a pack of 10 girls who were trampled as the course narrowed and runners jostled for position. The KVAC at Augusta’s Cony High School is especially narrow, Tiner said, and it’s hard to pass runners. Tiner knew she couldn’t get caught in the pack without space to make a move.

“I definitely wanted to make sure I got out fast enough to make sure that didn’t happen,” Tiner said. “I wanted to make sure I had room.”

Tiner won the KVAC Class B title with a time of 20:41, beating Maranacook’s Molly McGrail by 15 seconds. A week later, back in Belfast for the Northern regional meet, Tiner bear second place Abigail Wilmmer of Caribou by one minute, one second, winning in 19:38.47.

At the Class B state meet in Cumberland, Tiner placed 10th, finishing in 21:05.38. Tiner thinks she could’ve done better, and that is motivation as she enters the indoor track and field season and thinks about her sophomore year of cross country.

“Leave it all out there and be able to walk off and say I tried my best. I did my best. That’s all my goal is,” Tiner said. “I don’t care if I come in last place. If I tried my hardest and left it all out there, then that’s what I think is success… I have time. I have a great team.”

Added Salvato: “She’s hard on herself. She doesn’t want to let the team down… If she can have fun while she runs, she’ll be a great runner.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/ms-girls-cross-country-runner-of-the-year-winslows-olivia-tiner-enjoys-strong-debut-season/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780264_707169_20171121_tiner.jpgOlivia Tiner of Winslow is the 2017 Morning Sentinel Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:55:27 +0000
Freeport residents weigh in on town’s response to storm damage http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/freeport-residents-weigh-in-on-towns-storm-response/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/freeport-residents-weigh-in-on-towns-storm-response/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 23:37:54 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/freeport-residents-weigh-in-on-towns-storm-response/ FREEPORT — The town needs to update its emergency operations plan and improve communications with Central Maine Power in the wake of the Oct. 30 storm that left most of Freeport without power for a week.

Town councilors held a meeting on Nov. 16 to hear from residents about Freeport’s response. The meeting would normally have been televised, but the town’s broadcast control equipment was damaged by the storm.

Councilors were joined by town staff, representatives from the police, public works and fire departments, and about a half-dozen residents.

Fire Chief Charlie Jordan said his communication with CMP was cut off late on Oct. 30, an issue the town wants to discuss with CMP representatives at a Cumberland County Emergency Management Agency meeting on Dec. 13.

“CMP went silent on us (and) … would no longer take requests from the dispatch center in Brunswick. They sent our dispatch people into a normal queue of customers,” Jordan said. “We finally got contact with CMP sometime late Wednesday afternoon.”

CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice, however, denied any communication cut-offs. She said CMP asked to have county emergency management agencies funnel requests through Maine’s Emergency Management Agency when service centers became overloaded.

“CMP did not stop taking calls or cut off communications with Freeport or any other town,” Rice said. “People in all of our service centers, including Brunswick, continued to take calls even after we requested that calls be funneled through County EMAs and MEMA.”

Darrel Fournier – who served as the town’s fire chief for 25 years and formerly headed the area’s Emergency Management Association – said this was not the first time CMP “dropped the ball on power issues.”

“The storm overwhelmed them, they didn’t have enough people available,” he said.

Jordan said an update to the town’s emergency management plan is in the works, but he needs assistance from town staff and residents to make sure it is sufficient for future emergencies.

Fournier added that training town staff is crucial to future emergency management and should be done yearly.

Joyce Veilleux of the Cumberland County Incident Management Assistance team agreed.

“Training is key,” she said. “You’ve got new people all over … everyone has to know the plan and I don’t think people did this time.”

Veilleux added that communication between town officials and residents should be improved.

“Information has to go up, down and to the sides and it’s the side part that’s difficult,” she said.

Resident Chris Wolfe said she doesn’t have a cell phone, so when her electricity was out, all communication with the town ended.

“The best way to get (information) out is the old fashioned way … snail mail,” Wolfe said.

Council Chairwoman Sarah Tracy said limited means of communication during the storm was her biggest concern.

“We do need to have a clear, distilled set of communications to our residents,” she said.

Jordan encouraged residents to sign up for a “reverse 9-1-1 system,” CodeRED, an emergency notification service that notifies residents and businesses by phone about emergency situations. The system is capable of sending messages to specific neighborhoods or an entire town.

Jordan said the town is developing a Facebook page to improve communications. Public Works Director Neil Gibson added that he is in favor of using multiple platforms to communicate between the town and residents.

The town will also explore options for an emergency operations center equipped with a generator, where residents can go in future emergency situations.

Anyone who wants to comment on storm response is asked to contact Town Manager Peter Joseph at 865-4743, ext. 118, or email pjoseph@freeportmaine.com.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or at:

jvansaun@theforecaster.net

Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/freeport-residents-weigh-in-on-towns-storm-response/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292781_488203_storm.jpgA utility pole with a transformer attached still lies in the middle of Flying Point Road in Freeport on Nov. 3 , under wires weighted down by trees that block the road. Central Maine Power officials say they have made significant progress 'Äì restoring power to nearly 340,000 customers 'Äì but progress is slowing down, as line and tree crews move into rural areas with more localized damage. (/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Nov 2017 22:49:07 +0000
Oxford County sheriff silent about sex allegations http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/oxford-county-sheriff-silent-about-sex-allegations/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/oxford-county-sheriff-silent-about-sex-allegations/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 23:25:48 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/oxford-county-sheriff-silent-about-sex-allegations/ SOUTH PARIS — Oxford County Sheriff Wayne Gallant declined to speak Friday about accusations that he solicited sex from two employees and that he sent sexually explicit photos of himself to a deputy’s girlfriend.

Reached late Friday afternoon, Gallant said that his attorney will be available to field questions about the matter next week. The sheriff did not say who is representing him.

A television news station in Portland reported Tuesday that it had obtained a photo showing Gallant, in uniform, in a sexually explicit pose. The sheriff admitted to WGME-TV that he had taken the photo himself and sent it to a woman he did not identify.

Although Gallant immediately stepped down as president of the Maine Sheriffs’ Association, there was no word on whether he would resign from the sheriff’s position.

On Friday, Gallant said only that his lawyer will be handling questions about the matter.

“Other than that,” the sheriff said, “I have no comments.”

On Wednesday, an official of the union that represents 23 sworn officers of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office told the Portland Press Herald that Gallant made unwanted solicitations for sex to at least two of his employees.

Ray Cote, business agent for Teamsters Local 340, said he received the reports directly from the employees, whom he declined to name. In one instance, Gallant sent multiple sexually explicit photographs of himself to a male deputy’s girlfriend and requested that Gallant, the deputy and the woman have sex, Cote said. When the employee rebuffed the advances, Gallant threatened his job, Cote said.

In another instance, Gallant typed a message on a cellphone saying he wanted to perform oral sex on a male employee, and then showed the person what he typed, Cote said.

Copies of four of the images sent to the deputy’s girlfriend, which were obtained by the Press Herald, show Gallant displaying his genitalia. His face is visible in three of the images, including one in which Gallant is in uniform.

Cote said Gallant’s misconduct should disqualify him from his job and that he should be removed from office.

He told WCSH-TV on Friday that he believes that Chief Deputy Hart Daley was aware of the situation and did nothing, and should be removed as well. In an email to WCSH, Daley said, in part, “I can state that I was completely unaware of these alleged allegations and other issues until they were made public.”

Gallant, a divorced father of three grown sons, is in his third four-year term as sheriff. He was first elected in 2006.

According to Oxford County’s attorney, Bryan Dench, a move to oust Gallant would have to be made by the governor. County commissioners have not yet said whether they will file a complaint with the governor’s office to begin that process.

Efforts to reach the office of Gov. Paul LePage for comment Friday evening were unsuccessful.

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Mt. Blue students, staff collect 32,000 pounds of food for hungry http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/mt-blue-students-staff-collect-32000-pounds-of-food-for-hungry/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/mt-blue-students-staff-collect-32000-pounds-of-food-for-hungry/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 23:24:07 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/mt-blue-students-staff-collect-32000-pounds-of-food-for-hungry/ FARMINGTON — Mt. Blue High School students and staff took a bite out of hunger when they collected the equivalent of 32,740 pounds of food to help those in need.

The food went to the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, which distributes it to local food pantries around the state to help address food insecurity.

The drive was part of WGME’s School Spirit Challenge. Mt. Blue came in second place in the challenge, beating schools with larger student bodies, said Griffin Mayhew, president of the class of 2018 and the school board student representative.

Other schools in Regional School Unit 9 held separate food drives to benefit local cupboards.

Mayhew was persistent over the past couple of years about having Mt. Blue participate in the challenge. He negotiated with former Principal Bruce Mochamer for authorization to use space in the wrestling room to house the food donations.

The boys’ soccer team laid down a challenge of 500 cans and $500 to other teams at the high school, said Assistant Principal Joel Smith, also the team’s coach.

“I was really proud of them,” Smith said. Businessman John Moore of Narrow Gauge Cinema “gave us movie passes and we sold them,” he said, which gave the team the money to issue the challenge.

About 75 percent to 80 percent of donations were collected by student athletic teams, Mayhew said. A good number of cans and donations also were collected during a districtwide teachers workshop, Smith said.

“We always let (students) know that food was going locally to food banks,” he said. “We focused on that from the start.”

The school challenge rally wasn’t announced until later.

Monetary donations are factored into the food poundage. One dollar equals 5 pounds of food. Initially, a check for $4,000 was given to benefit the food bank but fundraising continued, which brought the total contribution to about $5,200, Smith said.

Businesses around the area contributed so T-shirts could be made for students to sell. Smith said he is thankful for the businesses that always step up to help out.

Franklin Savings Bank, Kyes Insurance, United Insurance (Shiretown Insurance) and University Credit Union all pitched in for the T-shirt project. Black Bear Graphics did the shirts at cost.

The T-shirts sold for $10 each. The students could bring in either $10 or 10 cans for a shirt.

Three hundred to 400 students packed the gymnasium the morning of Oct. 13. They either drove themselves or were driven by parents or upperclassmen, Mayhew said, to arrive at the rally before 6 a.m. That meant some students in outlying towns had to leave home at 4:30 or 4:45 a.m.

It showed that all of the promotion and the behind-the-scenes work and the effort that Coach Smith, Athletic Director Chad Brackett, Principal Monique Poulin and Assistant Principal Todd Demons paid off, Mayhew said.

Neither he nor Smith expected to come in second place in the challenge.

They never knew how much food they collected until it was laid out the day of the rally.

“It exceeded my expectations,” Mayhew said.

Students, families and staff were very generous, Smith said.

Among the contributions were 25 dozen doughnuts from Dunkin’ Donuts and cinnamon rolls made by parent Betsey Hyde and school nurse Katie Hallman.

Leftover T-shirts were sold at a recent craft fair at the school and raised about $220. It will be given to the local food pantry, Smith said. Ten shirts were left over as of Tuesday.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/mt-blue-students-staff-collect-32000-pounds-of-food-for-hungry/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780255_466679-mtbluefood-1125.jpgStudents arrived at school before 6 a.m. Oct. 13 to participate in the WGME School Spirit Challenge at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. Students and the staff raised the equivalent of 32,740 pounds of food to donate to the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn to help stamp out hunger. The school placed second in the challenge.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:24:07 +0000
Augusta River of Trees Festival open through Sunday http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/augusta-river-of-trees-festival-open-through-sunday/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/augusta-river-of-trees-festival-open-through-sunday/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 22:02:35 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/augusta-river-of-trees-festival-open-through-sunday/ AUGUSTA — Brightly lit artificial Christmas trees, a couple of snowmen and even an 8-foot stepladder decorated as a holiday tree sparkled Friday in downtown Augusta as part of a display organized by the Augusta Downtown Alliance.

The trees, laden with gift certificates and surrounded by presents, are to be given away Sunday evening at the close of a raffle from which 20 percent of the proceeds will go to the Colonial Theatre renovation project and the remainder to the alliance itself.

Dubbed the 2017 River of Trees Festival, a view of the equally sparkling Kennebec River could be seen Friday through the windows along the side of the building at 211 Water St.

Gabe Mitchell, 5, of Gardiner, had no trouble making his choice. He pointed immediately to a giant snowman from Patenaude Family Dentistry.

“He looks cool and he has a candy cane in his hand,” Gabe said. The snowman’s other hand held a gift bag full of gift certificates.

His brother Nicky, 4, opted for a smaller tree, which he happened to be standing in front of.

“We just heard about it and decided to come check it out,” said their father, Matt Mitchell. He and the boys made a circuit of the room before stopping to put the red raffle tickets they had bought into the candy canes in front of their favorite trees.

Various Christmas songs played in the background as alliance supporters and other visitors made their way around the room.

Michael Hall, alliance director, said 25 businesses and organizations decorated trees in what is the second year of the event. Each prize tree was worth $500 to $1,000. Last year’s event netted $12,000, Hall said.

Waterville and Lewiston have similar events, Hall said.

This year some of the presents were stolen Tuesday from the Sukeforth Family Festival of Trees event at the Hathaway Creative Center in Waterville. However, most of the items were recovered, and police arrested the man they say was responsible.

The alliance’s share of that money and a separate 50/50 raffle is earmarked for improvements to the downtown. Hall said the group hopes to do such things as add new trash cans, new benches at Waterfront Park and more art. Last year the alliance helped get two murals installed downtown.

“We’d like to focus next year on doing some pedestrian-friendly elements and a lot of art,” he said. “It’s a great fundraiser. It brings people to the downtown area and it’s a great community event.”

Admission to the display where the raffle tickets can be purchased costs $2. The display will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Winners may pick up their trees early next week.

Kennebec Savings Bank chose the home-improvement theme with the ladder tree. Skowhegan Savings Bank leaned more to the outdoor theme with two pairs of snowshoes and other fun snow gear sitting at the base of their green tree. The three local KeyBank branches cooperated on an alternative-holiday theme of Halloween and a cemetery scene. They wanted to make sure the tree stood out, said J. R. Davis, manager of the Water Street branch. He said it was aimed at telling people, “Finances can be scary, but banking shouldn’t be.”

The Downtown Diner tree had a children’s kitchen, a doll, pairs of mittens, a plastic sled, and a number of other prizes surrounding its base.

Pizza Degree’s entry was a silver tree with bright orange garland and all the items needed to make a pizza, including a rolling pin, a measuring cup, a large bag of flour, a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer, a cookbook, a pizza pan, etc.

The Oakes & Parkhurst Glass tree had dark red ribbons and shiny ornaments that appeared to be made of stained glass.

Will Guerrette, who was volunteering at the event Friday, helped organize the Sun Tan City entry, a colorful tree that would fit neatly into a small space. “We tried to give people really good value,” he said, looking over at the beauty products for both men and women and the gift certificates.

Some local businesses cooperated on assembling an entry. For instance, Lisa’s Legit Burritos, Millpark Farmers’ Market and Otto’s on the River decorated a tree with gift certificates, pet toys, jellies, jams and other farm products.

A corkscrew served as the topper for the tree from Circa 1885 and Cushnoc Brewing. Katie Smith, who owns Circa 1885, stopped in to view the other entries and make her choice for her raffle tickets.

She said she started collecting ornaments for the tree in October, finding some of the small wine bottle ornaments at a Christmas store in Belfast and special ordering some others.

“It includes several re-purposed barware ornaments, beer bottle openers, reclaimed corks and some beer koozies,” she said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/augusta-river-of-trees-festival-open-through-sunday/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780232_791854-20171124_riveroftr3.jpgMarie Woodcock, left, holds her daughter Emma McKenna as she drops a ticket into a PVC pipe candy cane to vote for one of her favorite trees Friday at the River of Trees event in downtown Augusta.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:40:55 +0000
NFL notebook: Brady back at practice for Patriots http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/nfl-notebook-brady-back-at-practice-for-patriots/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/nfl-notebook-brady-back-at-practice-for-patriots/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:31:55 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/nfl-notebook-brady-back-at-practice-for-patriots/ The New England Patriots had a busy holiday on the practice field Thursday.

Quarterback Tom Brady (Achilles), tight end Rob Gronkowski (illness) and safety Patrick Chung (ankle) returned on a limited basis after all three missed the initial workout of the week. Brady will play Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, according to a source.

But tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder, hamstring) didn’t participate despite being limited Wednesday. He played through both injuries Sunday against the Oakland Raiders and hasn’t missed a single game in his season-plus with the Patriots despite dealing with an array of serious injuries.

Center David Andrews (illness), right tackle Marcus Cannon (ankle) and wide receiver Chris Hogan (shoulder) remained out of practice. Andrews had flu-like symptoms last week in Colorado and missed his first game of the season, and Cannon and Hogan have missed the last two games.

Slot receiver Danny Amendola (knee), defensive tackle Malcom Brown (ankle), cornerback Eric Rowe (groin) and special teams captain Matthew Slater (hamstring) were all limited again.

Amendola has played through his knee injury all season; his lone absence was due to a concussion. The Patriots believed Brown and Rowe were close enough to returning last week that they brought them to Colorado for practice, so they’re each a possibility for Sunday against the Dolphins.

DOLPHINS: Wide receiver Jarvis Landry has absolutely no back-down.

In the spring, Landry predicted that the Dolphins would sweep the Patriots this year – which has not happened since 2000.

Seven months later, the Dolphins have lost four straight and now not only need to win Sunday in Foxbororough – the first of two games against New England in three weeks – for bragging rights, but to save their season.

Landry met with reporters after practice and showed no signs of easing off the prediction.

“Honestly, it’s a pride thing and also it’s something for us, a mindset,” Landry said. “I spoke about it. They’re a team that I have great respect for always.”

You cannot sweep the Patriots without winning in Foxborough, which Miami has not done since 2008. The line for Sunday’s game is 171/2 points.

“I don’t care about Vegas,” Landry said. “I don’t care about Vegas. I don’t care about numbers. Any given Sunday, anybody can beat anybody. That’s the beauty of this league, that’s the beauty of the NFL, and that’s why I love this sport so much.

“You never know. This may be the game that turns our season around. You never know. For us, we just focus on ourselves and put good days together so that when we get to the game, we’re confident, we’re playing fast and we can pull one out.”

BEARS: Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was placed on injured reserve, ending his season because of a knee injury.

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Frequent government critic arrested at Scarborough council meeting http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/frequent-government-critic-arrested-trespassing/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/frequent-government-critic-arrested-trespassing/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:19:44 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1292713 SCARBOROUGH — A habitual critic of local government was arrested at the Nov. 15 Town Council meeting and charged with criminal trespass.

Michael Doyle, 69, of Shady Lane in Falmouth was arrested during the public comment period of Wednesday’s meeting.

Doyle, who frequently speaks at meetings, started by ridiculing the town’s bid for an Amazon headquarters at Scarborough Downs.

He then suggested Town Manager Thomas Hall left his previous job in Rockland under suspicious circumstances. Hall’s contract in Scarborough was extended in June through 2020.

Chairman Shawn Babine intervened to stop Doyle, followed by Councilor Bill Donovan, who told Doyle he had to respect the chairman.

When Doyle refused and Babine asked him to leave, Doyle said he would not, repeatedly protesting that his customary three minutes hadn’t expired.

Doyle again refused when a police officer told him the chairman had asked him to leave, and the officer said she would have to arrest him.

“You’re going to have to arrest me,” Doyle said. “Do you want to arrest me?”

The officer said no, but Doyle said she would have to because he was going to continue to exercise his freedom of speech.

Doyle was then arrested and taken to Cumberland County Jail, where he posted bail and was released, according to Sgt. Rick Rouse. The bail conditions, according to Hall, include that Doyle may not visit the Scarborough Municipal Building.

Doyle last week called his arrest unlawful and said, “You can’t arrest people for asking questions.”

“You are just in as much danger (of) being arrested for asking questions as I am because they don’t like the questions,” he said. “I did nothing to require my being arrested … I was being polite.”

Doyle will appear in court Jan. 10.

It won’t be his first court hearing involving local government.

In August 2015, Doyle sued Scarborough in U.S. District Court in Portland, claiming his First Amendment rights had been violated on three occasions when councilors interrupted him at the podium during public forums “to enforce their illegal rules for public speaking.”

The case was dismissed in February.

In a case still pending in state court, Doyle is challenging the town’s fees for responding to his requests for information under Maine’s Freedom of Access Act.

In 2011, Doyle filed a complaint against Andrew Kinley, then vice chairman of the Falmouth School Board, for allegedly assaulting Doyle during a meeting. No charges were brought.

Doyle also unsuccessfully sued the Falmouth School Department to provide him with telephone records from a former superintendent of schools.

Doyle, who is retired from the insurance and securities industries and ran unsuccessfully for the Falmouth School Board in 2013, pleaded guilty to misrepresenting and selling unregistered securities in 2002. He was sentenced to 21/2 years in prison with all but 14 months suspended and was ordered to pay a $16,000 fine. He blamed his conviction on his lawyers, who, he claimed, tricked him into pleading guilty twice.

Doyle has also filed hundreds of Freedom of Access requests in Falmouth, and in 2012 was provided with access to more than 3,100 email addresses of subscribers to the town’s email notification service. He then sent out a mass email to the subscribers.

The breach eventually led lawmakers to propose changes to the FOA Act to protect email addresses of people who subscribe to the government website and email announcement lists.

Melanie Sochan can be contacted at 781-3661, ext.106, or at:

msochan@theforecaster.net.

Twitter: melaniesochan

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/frequent-government-critic-arrested-trespassing/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292713_586421_20130605_doyle.jpgPHOTO. Michael Doyle, Falmouth School Board candidate. For June 5 story on Falmouth elections. Reporter: Matt ByrneFri, 24 Nov 2017 23:43:20 +0000
Kennebec Journal Nov. 24 police log http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/kennebec-journal-nov-24-police-log-4/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/kennebec-journal-nov-24-police-log-4/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:13:21 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/kennebec-journal-nov-24-police-log-4/ AUGUSTA

Thursday at 7:39 a.m., a disturbance was reported on Tracy Street.

7:45 a.m., someone was taken to the hospital from State Street.

7:51 a.m., a gas leak was reported on Capitol Street.

9:30 a.m., fraud was reported on Windy Street.

9:45 a.m., a person was taken to the hospital from Alton Road.

9:46 a.m., a complaint about harassment was reported on Lambert Avenue.

1:57 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on State Street.

2:24 p.m., a well-being check was performed on Water Street.

2:28 p.m., a person was taken to the hospital from Stony Brook Road.

2:33 p.m., a person was taken to the hospital from New England Road.

4:47 p.m., a person was taken to the hospital from Eight Rod Road.

5:37 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Western Avenue.

5:42 p.m., a homelessness check was performed on Western Avenue.

6:17 p.m., a well-being or mental health check was requested on Fairbanks Street.

6:53 p.m., a past burglary was reported on Washington Street.

8:13 p.m., disturbance was reported on Bolton Hill Road.

10:25 p.m., a person was taken to the hospital from Washington Street.

10:44 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Edison Drive.

10:50 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Crossing Way.

10:58 p.m., suspicious activity was reported at Townsend Road and Marketplace Drive.

Friday at 12:08 a.m., a person was taken to the hospital from Summerhaven Road.

1:01 a.m., a disturbance was reported on Western Avenue.

2:06 a.m., a person was taken to the hospital from Townsend Street.

6:38 a.m., a theft was reported on Green Street.

HALLOWELL

Thursday at 4:12 p.m., a person was taken to the hospital from Central Street following an overdose rescue.

WINTHROP

Thursday at 8:50 p.m., a suspicious circumstance or activity was reported on Main Street.

ARREST

AUGUSTA

Thursday at 11:24 p.m., Roger J. Tanguay, 46, of Augusta, was arrested on a probation hold after a report of a disturbance on Cedar Street.

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Morning Sentinel Nov. 24 police log http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/morning-sentinel-nov-24-police-log-3/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/morning-sentinel-nov-24-police-log-3/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:09:33 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/morning-sentinel-nov-24-police-log-3/ IN ALBION, Thursday at 12:26 p.m., a structure fire was reported on Winslow Road.

IN ANSON, Thursday at 12:47 p.m., a theft was reported on Center Street.

IN CANAAN, Thursday at 4:01 a.m., a violation of bail or of a protection order was reported on Main Street.

IN CAMBRIDGE, Thursday at 3:02 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Leavitt Road.

IN JACKMAN, Thursday at 8:19 p.m., a structure fire was reported on Long Pond Road.

IN MADISON, Thursday at 12:35 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Shusta Road.

1:42 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Main Street.

10:57 a.m., a report of suspicious activity was investigated on Old Point Avenue.

11:47 a.m., a burglary was reported on Green Road.

4:44 p.m., police made an arrest during a traffic stop on Main Street.

IN MERCER, Thursday at 6:17 p.m., county deputies were sent to a call on Mercer Road, U.S. Route 2.

IN OAKLAND, Thursday at 10:02 a.m., criminal mischief was reported on Fairfield Street.

IN PALMYRA, Thursday at 7:25 a.m., Hartland fire units were sent in response to a report of a structure fire on Estes Avenue.

IN PITTSFIELD, Thursday at 4:49 a.m., a theft was reported on Canaan Road.

IN SKOWHEGAN, Thursday at 2:16 a.m., police were called to assist another agency on Fairview Avenue.

Friday at 12:23 a.m., a warning was issued after a report of trespassing at Fairgrounds Market Place.

3:30 a.m., a report of suspicious activity was investigated on Pineland Circle.

IN SOLON, Friday at 12:07 a.m., police made an arrest after a report of a domestic disturbance on North Main Street.

3:36 a.m., police were called to assist another agency on North Main Street.

IN WATERVILLE, Thursday at 6:47 a.m., an unwanted person was reported at a store on College Avenue.

8:20 a.m., an assault was reported at an eatery on Silver Street.

9:15 a.m., suspicious activity was reported at a store on Front Street.

11:09 a.m., criminal mischief was reported at a business on Merryfield Avenue.

1:22 p.m., sex offenses were reported on Main Street.

2:17 p.m., a complaint about threatening was investigated on College Avenue.

3:20 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Ticonic Street at Oak Street.

7:18 p.m., a noise complaint was taken from Poolers Park Way.

9:33 p.m., a domestic dispute was reported on Gold Street at Water Street.

10:21 p.m., an unwanted person was reported at a Summer Street apartment.

Friday at 1:33 a.m., a complaint about threatening was taken from High Street.

2:37 a.m., a report of a theft was investigated at a hotel on Main Street.

IN WINSLOW, Thursday at 12:29 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Cushman Road.

6:35 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Maple Ridge Road.

8:18 p.m., police were sent to a community policing detail on Halifax Street.

Friday at 2:27 a.m., police made an arrest after a report of an unwanted person at a store on China Road.

ARRESTS

IN SOMERSET COUNTY, Thursday at 5:04 p.m., John Allen Currier, 64, of Embden, was charged with failure to appear in court on fine payments and on a charge of attaching false plates.

Friday at 1:08 a.m., Joseph Kaminski, 54, of Solon, was arrested on a charge of domestic violence assault,

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One dead in Penobscot County crash http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/police-1-dead-after-head-on-crash/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/police-1-dead-after-head-on-crash/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 19:37:02 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/police-1-dead-after-head-on-crash/ ALTON — A LaGrange resident died Friday morning in a head-on crash in Alton, the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office said.

Robin Gardner, 63, died in the crash. The other driver, Tyler Creighton, 25, of Medford, was treated at a Bangor hospital for injuries. Upon his release, he was arrested and charged with aggravated driving to endanger and violating conditions of release, the sheriff’s office said. He was transported to the Penobscot County Jail and is being held without bail.

The collision occurred about 7:35 a.m. on Route 16.

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Augusta woman allegedly buys guns for New York drug dealer http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/augusta-woman-allegedly-buys-guns-for-new-york-drug-dealer/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/augusta-woman-allegedly-buys-guns-for-new-york-drug-dealer/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:42:49 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/augusta-woman-allegedly-buys-guns-for-new-york-drug-dealer/ An Augusta woman faces a federal firearms charge after allegedly buying guns here for her drug dealer in Rochester, New York.

Samantha Bailey, 29, is scheduled to make an initial appearance within the next two weeks in U.S. District Court in Bangor. She was summoned to court on the complaint, which accuses her of buying two Taurus 9 mm pistols in February at North Augusta Firearms, and falsely saying she was the actual buyer when she was not.

The complaint, charging her with making false statements to a federal firearms licensee, was filed Monday. The charge carries penalties of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

An affidavit by Christopher Concannon, special agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who investigated the case, said Bailey told him she “was a heroin user and that she had bought the firearms for her drug dealer who was from New York.”

Concannon said Bailey indicated she was told what guns to buy and that two associates of the drug dealer took her to the firearms dealer and one gave her the money for the purchases.

Video surveillance footage shows Bailey completing the paperwork for the purchase, Concannon said. North Augusta Firearms is on Burns Road.

“Bailey admitted that she had been paid in heroin for purchasing the firearms for her drug dealer,” Concannon wrote in the affidavit that was filed in the court.

One of the pistols was recovered later when police in Rochester “investigated a domestic disturbance during which her drug dealer reportedly discharged a firearm.” The firearm was recovered from a vehicle and then the manufacturer’s box for it and the box for the second firearm were recovered when police executed a search warrant at the scene of the May 23 domestic dispute. The affidavit does not indicate that the second firearm was recovered.

The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Jody Mullis. Attorney Terence Harrigan represents Bailey.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

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Maine woman files lawsuit against Victoria’s Secret over firing http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-woman-files-lawsuit-against-victorias-secret-over-firing/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-woman-files-lawsuit-against-victorias-secret-over-firing/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:35:52 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/maine-woman-files-lawsuit-against-victorias-secret-over-firing/ BANGOR — A Maine woman has filed a lawsuit against Victoria’s Secret claiming she was unjustly fired because of her weight and her age.

The Bangor Daily News reports 50-year-old Kelly Merchant says in her lawsuit filed last month that she was fired in June 2015 because she didn’t fit the lingerie company’s image. Merchant worked as a manager for a store in the Bangor Mall.

The Bradley woman alleges her firing violated the Maine Human Rights Act. She is seeking an undisclosed amount in damages and court fees.

The company says Merchant was fired for theft. Her attorney denies that, saying she used a coupon in a purchase that was against company policy.

Attorneys for the company declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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Waterboro man charged in shooting of N.H. woman http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/n-h-woman-shot-maine-man-charged-with-attempted-murder/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/n-h-woman-shot-maine-man-charged-with-attempted-murder/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:18:03 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/n-h-woman-shot-maine-man-charged-with-attempted-murder/

Jeremey Sterling

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Police say a woman is in critical condition after being shot several times in the torso and a Maine man has been charged with attempted murder and reckless conduct.

Manchester police arrested 25-year-old Jeremey Sterling, of Waterboro, Maine, in a parking lot shortly after the 2:45 p.m. shooting Thursday. Police also interviewed nearby residents who had bullet holes in their apartments.

Police said  Sterling and the 39-year-old victim know each other. They released no further information on what might have motivated the shooting.

The name of the woman was not released.

Sterling has been jailed and was scheduled to be arraigned Friday. It wasn’t immediately known if he had a lawyer.

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Special election set for Tuesday to fill Winthrop council seat http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/special-election-to-fill-winthrop-council-seat-set-for-tuesday/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/special-election-to-fill-winthrop-council-seat-set-for-tuesday/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:54:38 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/special-election-to-fill-winthrop-council-seat-set-for-tuesday/ Less than a month after two people were elected to the Winthrop Town Council, another election is being held to fill a third open seat.

The candidates are Faith Benedetti, an artist and public health worker who in recent years has been running her own medical marijuana practice; David Hughes, a trained computer programmer who now looks after his children, several of whom have special needs; and Anthony “Andy” Wess, who ran Lakeside Motel & Cabins in East Winthrop for 30 years before selling the business and retiring this year.

They’re competing for the seat that June Bubier vacated in the beginning of October with about one year of her term remaining.

The special election will be held Tuesday. Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Town Office.

In the coming months, the council will have to decide what mix of cost-cutting, taxation and borrowing is needed to bring the town out of a $1.5 million shortfall, while also funding programs, infrastructure projects and a school district that has about 900 students.

It also will have to work with local school officials who have disagreed with councilors about the origin of the shortfall and how to fund the schools.

Two of the candidates, Benedetti and Hughes, are running for a council seat for the first time. Wess has run unsuccessfully in the previous two elections.

FAITH BENEDETTI

Benedetti, 53, has a bachelor’s degree in humanities and a master’s degree in English and creative writing.

She taught college writing, then ran prevention and support programs for people with HIV/AIDS, and was a founder of the Next Step Needle Exchange in Augusta. More recently, Benedetti has worked as a medical marijuana caregiver, meaning she helps people with qualifying health problems to obtain the substance.

Faith Benedetti

Having moved to Winthrop in 2002, Benedetti said she’s running for council because she thinks her experience will be valuable as the town tries to redevelop its downtown and economy. She has taught classes through the Winthrop Plays Outside initiative, she said; and over the summer, she held a community art project in which more than 100 people helped position pieces of stained glass in a mosaic that will hang in the Town Office.

Benedetti said she would like Winthrop to take better advantage of its natural resources, possibly by offering canoes, kayaks and bicycles for rent. She also would like the town “to jump into the creative economy” by encouraging local artisans to create small businesses, which could draw people from other towns.

“It’s not enough to say we’re a bedroom community,” Benedetti said. “It would be wonderful to have a vital, vibrant downtown community. It’s been a difficult year. Our post office burned down; that’s been demoralizing for (the) town. We’ve been in the papers for some budget woes; that’s worn on people a little. We’re needing a rejuvenation of our spirit. That’s the kind of realm that I focus best in. As long as I’ve been here, I’ve gotten involved. I’ve initiated a few little projects to create community.”

Benedetti also thinks the town will have to start considering whether to allow recreational marijuana businesses in town, given the citizen initiative that legalized it across Maine a year ago. Such businesses could bring revenue, she said.

She declined to provide her thoughts on the town’s current financial challenges, saying that she hasn’t followed recent discussions on the matter, but that she would approach the crafting of next year’s budget “with an open mind and not a lot of preconceived notions.”

DAVID HUGHES

After graduating from Winthrop High School, Hughes, 46, took classes in computer science at the University of Southern Maine but ended up leaving school to work and take care of his family, he said. He has done computer programming work for several companies, and more recently has been a stay-at-home dad.

David Hughes

While Hughes understands the spending constraints facing the town, he said, he is running because he thinks the local schools need more support on the council.

Hughes followed the recent budget negotiations between town and school officials, and on a couple of occasions, he expressed concern about spending cuts that the council backed.

Three of his children are on the autism spectrum and have benefited from the special education offerings in the district, but he worries how those offerings could be affected by spending cuts, he said. He also worries about the effects of delaying maintenance on the local schools and the failure to hire an additional health worker for the district, as was originally proposed for this year’s school budget.

“I don’t think there’s a strong advocate (on the council) to just protect the school budget, let alone increase spending,” he said. “I understand the situation the town finds itself in. I understand there have to be compromises and sacrifices, but school budgets aren’t like a household budget. Their cost structures are different. They’re prone to increasing faster than the rate of inflation.”

Hughes also thinks council members need to be more involved with the town’s school board as it drafts the budget for the following year, rather than waiting for the board to put a budget together and then ask for more cuts.

At the same time, Hughes said, Winthrop should focus on safety net programs for elderly residents and economic development downtown. The town should try to expand a tax-relief program that would allow elderly residents who volunteer for the town to receive a credit on their property taxes, Hughes said.

“Fixing Memorial Drive is not going to be cheap,” Hughes said, referring to a local road that needs to be repaved. “If we can solve part of the property tax problems for fixed-income seniors, it will make fixing Memorial Drive less painful.”

ANTHONY ‘ANDY’ WESS

In interviews this week and previously, Wess, 65, has described himself as a business-minded candidate.

As the co-owner of Lakeside Motel & Cabins, Wess said he was able to grow the operation “from almost nothing to a really successful business that was giving back to the community, and that experience of growing a business is going to be very helpful to me. It will help me to look more carefully at budgets and spending.”

Andy Wess

Wess is the current chairman of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, sits on the Recreation Committee and helped create the town’s comprehensive plan. He has considered running for the council in past years, but he waited until this year because of the demands of his business.

“I’ve already ran twice,” he said. “I’m kind of persistent, and I really do think I can make a difference.”

While Wess praised the town’s firefighters, police officers and teachers and said they deserve appropriate resources, he also said that the town is overall “spending too much.”

“I remain convinced that we need a little bit more fiscal responsibly,” he said last week. “We need to be a little more careful with the taxpayers’ money. People are saying it’s only (raising taxes a little bit), this and that, but people are living paycheck to paycheck. We need to find a balance between taxes and paying our teachers. We need to be mindful of the morale of our volunteers, like firefighters. We need to support the police force with modern facilities. We need to reach a balance.”

Wess said he does not know who was responsible for the mistake that led to the town’s current, $1.5 million shortfall, but he called it “strange” that public officials still haven’t presented a clear explanation of the matter. If such a mistake had happened in his business, he said, he’d learn how it happened and make sure it wasn’t repeated.

At the same time, Wess said, he probably could have a good relationship with other councilors and members of the School Department.

“I think there is probably room for an open-mindedness on both sides,” he said. “I tend to be a person that looks for consensus in all public kind of meetings. When we did the comprehensive plan, I talked to everyone on the board, and on the zoning board I look for consensus. … It doesn’t serve anyone to be at odds.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

ceichacker@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @ceichacker

 

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British police find no evidence of reported shots fired in London subway station http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/police-investigating-incident-in-london-subway-station/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/police-investigating-incident-in-london-subway-station/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:14:42 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/police-investigating-incident-in-london-subway-station/ LONDON — British police say they have found no evidence of any shots being fired after reports of gunfire sparked panic in the heart of London.
Police descended on the area around Oxford Circus, one of London’s busiest subway stations, after reports of shots being fired.
Thousands of people ran in panic or took shelter in stores along busy Oxford Street.
About an hour after the first reports, the Metropolitan Police force said “police have not located any trace of any suspects, evidence of shots fired or causalities.”
They say people in the area should leave and that those inside buildings should remain there.

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Police seek man with 18 license suspensions after Franklin County car chase http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/oxford-county-man-sought-following-franklin-county-chase/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/oxford-county-man-sought-following-franklin-county-chase/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 16:22:50 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/oxford-county-man-sought-following-franklin-county-chase/ The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on a man with 18 active driver’s license suspensions who fled a traffic stop Thursday in Chesterville.

Deputy Derek Doucette pulled over a black Saturn shortly before 1 p.m. on Route 156 near Vienna Road because of a violation. The driver failed to provide a driver’s license and gave his name as Dale Thompson, according to a news release from the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

After checking via computer, Doucette identified the driver as Devin Leonard, 25, of Albany Township, in part using in-house records including photos from past arrests. In addition to the suspensions, a warrant has been issued for unpaid fines.

When the deputy returned to the car, he addressed Leonard by his real name and Leonard fled, turning onto Vienna Road heading toward Vienna, in Kennebec County, according to the release.

Doucette pursued him for a short time before ending the chase.

A warrant for Leonard’s arrest on a charge of eluding an officer is expected to be issued. In addition, he is expected to be charged with failing to stop for an officer, driving to endanger, refusing to submit to arrest or detention, operating a motor vehicle without a license, operating with license suspended or revoked, and failure to give correct name, address or date of birth.

The Franklin County’s Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about Leonard’s location to please ontact the office at 778-2680 or via Facebook.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/oxford-county-man-sought-following-franklin-county-chase/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780136_65599-Doucette.jpgDevin LeonardFri, 24 Nov 2017 15:34:18 +0000
Retailers get creative to hold off Amazon and get shoppers into stores http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/after-weeks-of-deals-stores-aim-to-draw-black-friday-crowds/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/after-weeks-of-deals-stores-aim-to-draw-black-friday-crowds/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:41:22 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/after-weeks-of-deals-stores-aim-to-draw-black-friday-crowds/ Retailers nationwide worked hard to attract shoppers to stores on Black Friday, offering in-person deals meant to counter the ease of shopping by phone on Amazon.

A better economy and colder weather helped, to be sure. But stores have also tried to improve the store experience and offer better service. They’ve also made a big push toward offering store pickup for online orders, hoping to get people to pick up more items. But they’re fighting a circumstance in which online leader Amazon is the first and only stop for many shoppers.

So they’re getting creative with the deals.

Victor Moore said he arrived about two hours before Best Buy’s 8 a.m. opening in Nashville and scored one of the about 14 “doorbuster” deals on a 55-inch Toshiba smart TV for $280, a $220 savings. Moore said he’s done some online shopping, but the allure of in-store-only deals drew him out from behind the computer.

“This is the first successful doorbuster that I’ve ever been a part of,” Moore said. “I’ve been in lines before, but never actually got the items that I was waiting for.”

Annette Peluffo usually avoids Black Friday and buys online. But a $250 gift card reward for buying an iPhone 8 plus at a Target store in Miami was hard to resist. She plans to use the money to buy toys for her nephews and nieces in the coming weeks. “I just came here for the iPhone. I am not going to any other store,” she said.

Still, Black Friday isn’t what it used to be. It has morphed from a single day when people got up early to score doorbusters into a whole month of deals. That has thinned out the crowds. And brick-and-mortar stores face plenty of challenges.

With the jobless rate at a 17-year-low of 4.1 percent and consumer confidence stronger than a year ago, analysts project healthy sales increases for November and December. The National Retail Federation trade group expects sales for that period to at least match last year’s rise of 3.6 percent and estimates online spending and other non-store sales will rise 11 to 15 percent.

But analysts at Bain say Amazon is expected to take half of the holiday season’s sales growth.

Amazon said Friday that Thanksgiving continued to be one of its busiest shopping days, with orders through its app up over 50 percent from a year ago. Overall, online sales on Black Friday rose 18. 4 percent to $640 million, from a year ago, as of Friday morning, says Adobe Analytics. Thanksgiving generated a total of $2.87 billion in online spending, up 18.3 percent from a year ago, the data firm said.

About 69 percent of Americans, or 164 million people, intend to shop at some point during the five-day period from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, according to a survey released by the NRF. It expected Black Friday to remain the busiest day, with about 115 million people planning to shop then.

“The consumer still likes to go to the stores,” said Charles O’Shea, Moody’s lead retail analyst. “I’ve seen a lot of traffic. Yes. There’s going to be a lot of online shopping. But I think the brick and mortar stores have done a nice job so far in attracting shoppers.”

That’s true of Karre Wagner, a 20-year-old University of Minnesota student from St. Paul, Minnesota, who was shopping at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, with her boyfriend. She bought a Blue-Ray player at the mall’s Best Buy store. She says she started holiday shopping on Black Friday, but she likes to go to the mall to shop.

“I like to see what I’m buying. I like to touch it, feel it, know exactly what I’m getting and part of it is the experience,” she said. “I mean, sitting online is fine, but there’s just something about starting the holiday season with Black Friday.”

The shift to online buying is a major factor as industry analysts watch how the nation’s malls fare this holiday shopping season. The Mall of America in Minnesota says that 2,500 people were in line at the 5 a.m. opening Friday, in line with a year ago. Shoppers started queuing up as early as 5:45 p.m. on Thanksgiving. Jill Renslow, Mall of America’s executive vice president of business development, said stores like Nordstrom, Macy’s and Best Buy were crowded. She said the items that caught shoppers’ attention included were voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo, nostalgic toys, clothing and shoes.

Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said customer counts are higher and business was better in the North and Northeast even with fewer promotions from a year ago.

But much depends on whether people are buying or just looking, and if they’re buying things that aren’t on sale as well.

Chuck Boyd said he and his son arrived at 4 a.m. as one of the first five or six in line at Best Buy in Nashville to get one each of about 14 “doorbuster” deals on a 55-inch Toshiba smart TV for $280, a $220 savings. Boyd said he never goes out for Black Friday deals and prefers online shopping. But his son wanted a TV for his apartment at school, so Boyd came along to get one too.

“I’d much rather do online,” Boyd said. “But this was the deal you could only do in the store.”

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/after-weeks-of-deals-stores-aim-to-draw-black-friday-crowds/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292556_Holiday_Shopping_Black_Fr4.jpgPeter Pereira/Standard Times via AP Shoppers rush into electronics store Best Buy as doors open early Friday morning in Dartmouth, Mass.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 21:29:32 +0000
Black Friday shoppers flock to scaled-back midnight openings http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-shoppers-flock-to-scaled-back-midnight-openings-2/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-shoppers-flock-to-scaled-back-midnight-openings-2/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 15:30:48 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-shoppers-flock-to-scaled-back-midnight-openings-2/ Lack of participation by several major retailers didn’t stop thousands of shoppers from staying up late to snag limited-time bargains at Black Friday midnight openings across southern Maine.

The move by some retailers to open at 6 a.m. this year instead of midnight to spare workers and reduce overhead did lead to a bit of confusion, as evidenced by a slow procession of vehicles passing in front of Target in South Portland and then driving away. Target was among retailers that opened at midnight in previous years but opted for a 6 a.m. opening Friday.

In the last minutes before the store opened, 10-year-old Deshawn Lamour bounced anxiously on his tip toes and rubbed his gloved hands together to stay warm.

The Portland boy was the first in line and intended to leave with a $250 55-inch television he had saved up for. He and his mother, Melynda Dunlap, arrived at 10 p.m. Thursday.

“It was a lot of fun,” Lamour said of the overnight in line, which included side trips to nearby stores to shop and warm up. “A lot of people left the (Target) line because it opens at 6 a.m.”

The later opening time caught some shoppers off guard but gave them time to hunt for deals elsewhere before coming back.

“I was already waiting in one line for three hours and now I’m waiting in another for three hours,” said Carol Rickett of Portland, who was shopping at Target with her son, Daniel Hill.

They had already been to Walmart for a quick 20-minute stop, but encountered long lines at Kohl’s.

“It was a nightmare,” Rickett said with a laugh. “You do it for the kids.”

Overall, retailers in Maine said they are going into the season with a fair amount of optimism.

The Friday before Christmas – not Black Friday – was the busiest shopping day in Maine in 2016, according to a study of 450 Maine retailers. The study, by San Francisco-based merchant technology firm Womply Inc., found that Maine retailers had their highest sales on Dec. 23, followed by Black Friday (Nov. 25) and then Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26).

STORMS, E-COMMERCE CAN TAKE TOLL

In 2016, Maine retailers took in an average of 176 percent of normal daily revenue on the Friday before Christmas, 174 percent on Black Friday and 159 percent on Small Business Saturday, according to Womply.

Inclement weather in November and December could dictate how good the holiday retail season is, said Curtis Picard, president and CEO of the Retail Association of Maine. If it happens early enough, consumers can simply postpone their shopping, but it can be devastating if a storm hits right before Christmas because there’s no time left for retailers to make up the lost business.

Another threat to retailers this holiday season is the continued encroachment on their sales by e-commerce businesses. Picard said bricks-and-mortar merchants are making a variety of adjustments to better compete with online retailers, such as offering in-store pickup and same-day delivery of items ordered online or by phone, and adding entertainment, refreshments and other perks to make shopping in the store more enjoyable.

Mike Martel of Lewiston arrived at the Maine Mall, where some stores opened at midnight to long lines, around 5:45 a.m. with his sister Kathy Bilier and niece Lynn Carmichael. They shop together at the mall every Black Friday and were surprised by the lack of large crowds this year.

“We think Amazon has kind of killed Black Friday,” Bilier said.

“This is nothing,” Martel added. “This is like a Saturday morning. I remember times you couldn’t move in here.”

Carmichael, who carried several shopping bags, said she was able to find lots of gifts for people on her list.

“But I ordered stuff from Amazon while I was in the mall today,” she said.

Nycole Nadeau of Brunswick sipped coffee while standing behind her display of LipSense by Senegence products. She and several other local vendors were selling products at the mall as part of a three-day holiday event organized by Maine Supporting Maine.

Nadeau said the mall was crowded at midnight, with lots of teenagers and people headed straight for doorbuster sales.

“I’m usually a Black Friday shopper so I know how it is,” she said.

Nadeau said she expects interest in her products to pick up over the weekend.

BEST BUY DRAWS HUNDREDS

By far the biggest draw for shoppers was electronics retailer Best Buy, which saw hundreds of people lined up outside before its midnight opening time, all hoping to land a doorbuster deal.

The most dedicated Best Buy shoppers were Solomon Benami and his friend Jackson Cochrane, both 15-year-olds from Saco, who literally camped out at the front of the line, tent and all.

“We got here Wednesday at 2 p.m.,” Benami said. “It’s been cold, definitely cold, and raining.”

The friends said they played card games, listened to music and pushed each other around in shopping carts to pass the time while they waited for the store to open. They even took a nap in the tent.

Both Benami and Cochrane were after the same thing: a 50-inch, 4K ultra-high-definition smart TV made by Sharp for $179.

Benami had intended to surprise his parents with the TV, but it didn’t take them long to wonder where their son was and call him up. So they decided to bring food and keep him company while he waited.

“I missed him being home,” said Benami’s mother, Edna Benami. “I was like, ‘Let’s go check on him.’ ”

Excluding the Best Buy line outside at midnight, teens made up at least 80 percent of the mall crowd, with a scattering of semireluctant parents in tow.

“I’m here for Amanda, my daughter,” said Gorham resident Sheila Richardson. “She spends all Thanksgiving making a (Black Friday) plan. She’s putting the first load into the car right now.”

Stores appealing to teens attracted the biggest crowds, including clothing store Pink and video game seller Game Stop. Some of the other merchants didn’t seem to be doing much business at all, even though the mall was packed.

“The adults will come out tomorrow,” said Damian Michael, who was operating a LuLaRoe women’s clothing kiosk inside the mall with his wife, Erica Michael.

The couple said they started setting up Thursday afternoon and were planning to work a 24-hour shift until they were relieved by friends Friday afternoon.

“We actually got a hotel room right across the street, so that makes it easy for us,” Damian Michael said. “We’re here through Sunday, so we’re hoping for a good weekend overall.”

Prakash Sethia of Scarborough was pulling double duty inside the mall, manning two adjacent kiosks simultaneously. Given the high concentration of teens at midnight, he wasn’t expecting many sales from his kiosk of handmade jewelry boxes, candle stands, copper cups and other products imported from India.

But Sethia’s other booth was packed with all manner of toys, including remote-controlled cars, helicopter drones and other high-tech gadgets.

“We’re hoping for business to really boom,” he said. “So far it’s going great.”

Some of the adults seemed to be surveying the chaotic scene with a tinge of unease, including Oxford resident Ryan LaVerdiere, who said he was only there because a friend wanted to go.

“This might have been the last thing I thought I’d ever do,” he said.

When asked if there was anything in particular he was looking for at the mall, LaVerdiere replied, “Just the exit.”

lines ‘insane’ in freeport

Twenty miles north in Freeport’s downtown shopping district, foot traffic early Friday morning was lighter but contained a higher concentration of hardcore shoppers. People of all ages were moving from store to store, many of them laden with multiple shopping bags.

“We came to Freeport because the (South) Portland mall wasn’t open yet,” said Lewiston resident Jonathan Poulin, who was there shopping with his sister Trisha Poulin of South Portland.

Freeport is home to outdoor retailer L.L. Bean, open all year round, 24 hours a day, and one of the only major retailers in Maine that is exempt from the state’s “blue law” prohibiting most stores from being open on Thanksgiving. About a dozen other Freeport retailers, mostly clothing and accessories stores, opened at midnight on Black Friday.

Early Friday morning, the Poulin siblings hit some clothing stores before calling it a night.

“I have to work at, like, 5 a.m.,” Jonathan Poulin said.

By Friday afternoon, cars were circling Freeport parking lots searching for a space and lines stretched out the door at the stores.

Anne Edward of Boston and her family have made an annual Black Friday day trip to Freeport for a dozen years, and this year was no exception. Her husband Mike said he thinks this year is even busier than usual.

“The lines in the stores are insane,” Anne Edward added. The family was tailgating at lunch, eating homemade turkey sandwiches out of the bed of their truck. Their second car, a sedan in the next parking space, was already filled with packages.

She said the family started tailgating after finding it hard to find an easy lunch spot. “I always come up with a plan.”

In Portland’s Old Port, business was steady but unhurried, with available parking spots and sidewalks easily navigated.

“This time of year can be ‘November quiet,’ ” said Beverly Kocenko, co-founder of Liberty Graphics and manager of the Portland store. “They will come. But today’s a day of relaxation after the holiday.”

The last several weekends have been “busy, busy, busy” at Liberty Graphics, which mostly stocks T-shirts with Maine-themed images.

Several local businesses said that Saturday’s “Shop Small Saturday,” a marketing effort aimed at bringing attention to local businesses, will bring bigger crowds.

“Tomorrow is going to be a madhouse,” said Marie Stewart Harmon, the manager of Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine shop on Exchange Street and the daughter of owner Lisa Marie Stewart. Glancing over at two employees at the front register, she laughed: “I told them to buckle in! It’s the end of the slow period.”

Local businesses count on shoppers who want a Maine-made or unique gift.

“I have found that more and more people are shopping local,” Stewart said. On Black Friday, she said, “everyone goes to the mall.”

Shopper Nonnie Preuss of Boston said that’s why she made a point of coming to downtown Portland.

“We wanted to get locally made crafts,” said Preuss, as she picked out Christmas tree ornaments – a lobster in a trap and a lobster buoy – at Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine.

 

Staff writer Noel K. Gallagher contributed to this report.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at:

ggraham@pressherald.com

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at:

canderson@pressherald.comStaff photo by Brianna Soukup

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-shoppers-flock-to-scaled-back-midnight-openings-2/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292552_195509-20171124_Black-Fr10.jpgSOUTH PORTLAND, ME - NOVEMBER 24: Yousef, 5, lets out a yawn as he waits for his mother to finish shopping at Best Buy in the Maine Mall just after midnight on Black Friday. (Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer)Fri, 24 Nov 2017 23:26:48 +0000
Northern Maine health clinic gets $2.2 million USDA loan to expand http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/usda-loaning-2-2m-to-expand-northern-maine-health-care/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/usda-loaning-2-2m-to-expand-northern-maine-health-care/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 14:39:18 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/usda-loaning-2-2m-to-expand-northern-maine-health-care/ MILLINOCKET —Maine’s U.S. senators say the federal government is giving a northern Maine health center a $2.2 million loan that will allow it to offer more services.

Katahdin Valley Health Center in Millinocket. Google photo

Republican Sen. Susan Collins and independent Sen. Angus King say the loan is coming through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Facilities Guaranteed Loan Program. They say it will be used to fund renovation and expansion of the Katahdin Valley Health Center in Millinocket.

The center will be able to build a 4,200-square-foot addition to provide space for optometry, behavioral counseling, dental services and other health services. The senators say the expansion will provide greater access to care in one of the more rural parts of the state.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/usda-loaning-2-2m-to-expand-northern-maine-health-care/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/katahdin-valley.jpgFri, 24 Nov 2017 10:47:40 +0000
Black Friday deals in central Maine lure early shoppers for annual bonanza http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/shoppers-line-up-for-black-friday-deals-in-augusta/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/shoppers-line-up-for-black-friday-deals-in-augusta/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 14:25:51 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/shoppers-line-up-for-black-friday-deals-in-augusta/ AUGUSTA — When the Herrins and their friends arrived first Thursday night at Kohl’s at the Marketplace at Augusta, they already had a plan in place.

The Skowhegan residents had eaten their Thanksgiving dinner at 1 p.m. and spent the afternoon perusing the Black Friday sales fliers in the Morning Sentinel to find the best deal.

“Every year someone in the family needs a new TV, and this is what we do,” said Rachel Herrin, of Skowhegan. “We go as a group and we get a TV.”

They joined the thousands of other people across the region and across the country who lined up early to get first dibs on the deep discount deals that retailers line up every year to boost sales starting on Thanksgiving at the stroke of midnight in some cases, or 6 a.m. Friday in others.

Officials at the Marketplace at Augusta predicted earlier this week that more than 30,000 people would travel to the outdoor shopping center for its Rocking the Night Away promotion, complete with music, prizes and giveaways overnight.

The Herrins and Jen Viles arrived around 8 p.m. and took their place in line and waited for the doors to open, with music broadcast across the parking lot.

This year, Viles was the TV shopper. She was after a 55-inch TV for $299, and with it, she would get $90 in Kohl’s cash.

“This is only my third Black Friday,” Rachel Herrin said. “Jen is the inspiration.”

As it turns out, Viles was not the Black Friday instigator that Herrin believed her to be; her first Black Friday was three years ago, too.

“I used to read the fliers and go: ‘They are crazy,'” Viles said. “Now I’m crazy.”

With enough people shopping as a team, Viles said, someone can line up immediately at the checkout while someone else grabs the TV.

Chelsie Herrin had her eye on a play kitchen set for her daughter’s second birthday and some other gifts, plus some $3 pillows.

“I saw them and it was a good deal, so I decided to grab them while I can,” she said.

Nationally, year-over-year sales are expected to increase 3.6 percent to 4 percent, said Curtis Picard, president and chief executive officer of the Retail Association of Maine.

Weather is always a concern, he said, and bad weather in the weeks leading up to Christmas can kill sales that retailers can’t replace. But aside from that, he said, Maine retailers are optimistic about the holiday shopping season.

Many customers are sharing that optimism.

Across Augusta at Best Buy, shoppers started lining up early — so early in fact, that most turkeys weren’t even in the oven yet.

Christopher Turner, of Gardiner, was in line at 6 a.m. — and for the next eight hours, he was the line. The next person to show up arrived at 2 p.m.

“I have fun doing it,” Turner said. He routinely shows up first in line.

This year, he was after video games, and he planned to pick up something that a friend asked him to get while he was there.

By the time the store opened at a minute past midnight, Turner had been there 18 hours, fortified only by the banana bread he had picked up on the way in and his breaks to sit down and warm up in his vehicle.

Kami Spitzer and Andrew Gagnon, both of Augusta, arrived at Best Buy about 5 p.m., and they were 13th in line. Like Viles, they were after a TV, the 50-inch Sharp, marked down to $179.99, more than half off the usual selling price of $499.99.

Spitzer has been shopping the Black Friday sales off and on for about eight years. Gagnon said this was his second — and last — Black Friday.

Over at the Big Kmart at Elm Plaza in Waterville, Heather Smith and her cousin-in-law, Benita Jamison, both of Orono, said Friday afternoon that they had traveled close to 1,000 miles since Thursday, cruising the Black Friday sales from Bangor to New Hampshire discount malls to Waterville and back to Bangor to do more shopping.

And all with no sleep, Smith said, loading up their car with holiday presents.

“We’ve been shopping since 4:30 yesterday afternoon and we’ve been awake since 5 a.m. yesterday,” she said with a big laugh. “We did dinner and Thanksgiving. She worked and then we left Bangor and went shopping and drove all the way to New Hampshire and were in New Hampshire by 7 o’clock shopping.”

After all that Black Friday shopping for bargains, they still had spent only about $300, Smith said. She said she and Jamison have done the same shopping route for the past 15 years. This year they bought clothing, blankets, Play Station 4s and other items for family members for Christmas.

“I’ll shop right up ’til Christmas Eve,” Jamison said to a hail of laughter. “I do not lie. I shop right up until Christmas Eve. It’s just a tradition, and we go out and have a lot of fun. We’ve got more stores to go to.”

Meanwhile, at the Walmart Super Store on Waterville Commons Drive, assistant store manager Matt Gallacher was waiting with a Samsung 58-inch ultra-high-definition television to load into a customer’s car. He said the UHD TVs were sailing out the door, marked down for Black Friday to $595. By 2:30 there were only six left in the whole store from a high stack of them when Black Friday sales began.

“It was very busy at 10 o’clock,” he said from the sidewalk as customers zoomed into and out of the store. “We had a lot of our customers here for Black Friday. I actually talked to a few who were here last night, went home for a few hours to get some sleep, then came back to grab the rest of the deals.”

Gallacher said the big sellers this year include Air Fryers, UHD TVs and “Play Station 4s are going like crazy and X-Box 1s, and we sold out of iPhone 6s as well.”

The customer for the TV, Paul LeBlanc, of Waterville, said the TV was marked down from $799, saving him $200.

“That is for me, I guess. It’s for the whole family,” he said, loading the set into his hatchback.

Will he wrap up the box and put it under the tree for Christmas?

“It might be going on the wall today,” he said with a laugh.

Fourteen hours after midnight, Christina Poulin was headed to her car at the Marketplace at Augusta. This year she preferred to leave the early shopping to others.

Poulin didn’t lose any sleep, but she didn’t make up much time by waiting, she said. The lines around 2 p.m., were long, apparently longer than they had been in mid-morning.

“People have been in line 45 minutes or an hour,” she said.

While she thinks she missed out on good deals, Poulin said she has managed to get most of her Christmas shopping done.

While Black Friday might be associated with ways to put retailers back “in the black” when it comes to sales, it was originally named for much more basic human impulses, the Atlantic reported in 2014. In the 1950s, Harvard historian Nancy Koehn wrote, factory managers started calling the day after Thanksgiving “black Friday” because so many workers would call in sick that day — “a disease second only to the bubonic plague.”

In the early 1960s, police in Philadelphia began using “Black Friday” to describe the crowds of shoppers and traffic that would flow into the city the day after Thanksgiving — making their jobs, and their lives, more difficult. It wasn’t until the 1970s and ’80s that retailers began to emphasize the connection between the day after Thanksgiving and the start of the commercial holiday season.

Shoppers will have another chance to score discounts on Cyber Monday, when online retailers take their turn in pushing deeply discounted items to shoppers looking for bargains.

Between the two days falls Small Business Saturday, which encourages people to shop at locally owned businesses to support local economies. Giving Tuesday caps off the run by launching the charitable season, encouraging people to donate money, items or time to causes they support.

Staff photographer Joe Phelan contributed to this report.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

jlowell@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

dharlow@centralmaine.com

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/shoppers-line-up-for-black-friday-deals-in-augusta/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780081_132748-20171124_BlackFriday.jpgChelsie Herrin, of Skowhegan, pulls a cart with a kitchen play set and pillows through Kohl's at 12:11 a.m. Friday in Augusta. Herrin and several other relatives were the first people in line and had gotten there around 8 p.m.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 17:59:33 +0000
Windsor man allegedly holds up Augusta Kwik Mart, steals money http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/windsor-man-allegedly-holds-up-augusta-kwik-mart-steals-money/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/windsor-man-allegedly-holds-up-augusta-kwik-mart-steals-money/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 14:13:35 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/windsor-man-allegedly-holds-up-augusta-kwik-mart-steals-money/ A Windsor man was arrested Thursday on charges of robbery and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person after a robbery was reported at the Augusta Kwik Mart on Western Avenue.

Anthony Manganella, 35, allegedly showed a handgun to the cashier about 11:43 a.m. Thursday at the store and left with an undisclosed amount of money, according to an Augusta police news release. A Maine State Police dog unit was called to investigate, but a short time later, Sgt. Christopher Shaw found Manganella, who matched the description of the suspect, police said.

Manganella’s bail was set at $25,000 cash and he is in the Kennebec County jail.

No one was hurt in the hold-up, police said.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/windsor-man-allegedly-holds-up-augusta-kwik-mart-steals-money/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/780076_616553-20171123_UnknownSp2.jpgAugusta police say a Windsor man robbed this Western Avenue convenience store Thursday.Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:57:05 +0000
At least 235 killed as militants attack mosque in Egypt’s Sinai http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/at-least-155-killed-in-attack-on-mosque-in-egypts-sinai/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/at-least-155-killed-in-attack-on-mosque-in-egypts-sinai/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:55:58 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/at-least-155-killed-in-attack-on-mosque-in-egypts-sinai/ CAIRO — In the deadliest attack ever by Islamic extremists in Egypt, militants assaulted a crowded mosque Friday during prayers, blasting helpless worshippers with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades and blocking their escape routes. At least 235 people were killed before the assailants got away.

The attack in the troubled northern part of the Sinai Peninsula targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.

The startling bloodshed in the town of Bir al-Abd also wounded at least 109, according to the state news agency. It offered the latest sign that, despite more than three years of fighting in Sinai, the Egyptian government has failed to deter an Islamic State-led insurgency.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed that the attack “will not go unpunished” and that Egypt would persevere with its war on terrorism. But he did not specify what new steps might be taken.

The military and security forces have already been waging a tough campaign against militants in the towns, villages and desert mountains of Sinai, and Egypt has been in a state of emergency for months. Across the country, thousands have been arrested in a crackdown on suspected Islamists as well as against other dissenters and critics, raising concern about human rights violations.

Seeking to spread the violence, militants over the past year have carried out deadly bombings on churches in the capital of Cairo and other cities, killing dozens of Christians. The Islamic State affiliate is also believed to be behind the 2016 downing of a Russian passenger jet that killed 226 people.

DEADLIEST ATTACK

Friday’s assault was the first major militant attack on a Muslim congregation, and it eclipsed past attacks, even dating back to a previous Islamic militant insurgency in the 1990s.

The militants descended on the al-Rouda mosque in four off-road vehicles as hundreds worshipped inside. At least a dozen attackers charged in, opening fire randomly, the main cleric at the mosque, Sheikh Mohamed Abdel Fatah Zowraiq told The Associated Press by phone from a Nile Delta town where he was recuperating from bruises and scratches suffered in the attack.

He said there were explosions as well. Officials cited by the state news agency MENA said the attackers fired rocket-propelled grenades and shot men as they tried to run from the building. The militants blocked off escape routes with burning cars, three police officers on the scene told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

Abdullah Abdel-Nasser, 14, who was attending prayers with his father, said the shooting began just as the cleric was about to start his sermon, sending panicked worshippers rushing to hide behind concrete columns or whatever shelter they could find. At one point, a militant shouted for children to leave, so Abdel-Nasser said he rushed out, though he was wounded in the shoulder by shrapnel and a bullet.

“I saw many people on the floor, many dead. I don’t think anyone survived,” he said at a hospital in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, where around 40 of the wounded were taken, including many children.

Mohammed Ali said 18 members of his extended family were killed in the attack. The mosque belonged to a local clan, the Jreer, so many of its members worshipped there.

“Where was the army? It’s only a few kilometers away. This is the question we cannot find an answer to,” he said.

The attackers escaped, apparently before security forces could confront them.

Afterward, dozens of bloodied bodies wrapped in sheets were laid across the mosque floor, according to images circulating on social media. Relatives lined up outside a nearby hospital as ambulances raced back and forth. The state news agency MENA put the death toll at 235.

Resident Ashraf el-Hefny said many of the victims were workers at a nearby salt mine who had come for Friday services at the mosque.

“Local people brought the wounded to hospital on their own cars and trucks,” he said by telephone.

SUFIS TARGETED

No one claimed immediate responsibility for the attack. But the Islamic State affiliate has targeted Sufis in the past. Last year, the militants beheaded a leading local Sufi religious figure, the blind sheikh Suleiman Abu Heraz, and posted photos of the killing online.

Islamic State group propaganda often denounces Sufis. In the January edition of an IS online magazine, a figure purporting to be a high level official in the Sinai affiliate of the group vowed to target Sufis, accusing them of idolatry and heretical “innovation” in religion and warning that the group will “not permit (their) presence” in Sinai or Egypt.

Millions of Egyptians belong to Sufi orders, which hold sessions of chanting and poetry meant to draw the faithful closer to God. Sufis also hold shrines containing the tombs of holy men in particular reverence.

Islamic hardliners view such practices as improper, even heretical, and militants across the region often destroy Sufi shrines, saying they encourage idolatry because people pray to the figures buried there for intercession.

El-Sissi convened a high-level meeting of security officials as his office declared a three-day mourning period.

In a statement, he said the attack would only “add to our insistence” on combatting extremists. Addressing the nation later on television, he said Egypt is waging a battle against militancy on behalf of the rest of the world, a declaration he has often made in seeking international support for the fight.

President Trump denounced what he called a “horrible and cowardly terrorist attack on innocent and defenseless worshippers.”

“The world cannot tolerate terrorism” he said on Twitter, “we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence!” He later tweeted that he would call el-Sissi and said the attack showed the need to get “tougher and smarter,” including by building the wall he has promised along the U.S. border with Mexico.

Islamic militants stepped up their campaign of violence in northern Sinai after the military ousted the elected but divisive Islamist Mohammed Morsi from power in 2013 and launched a fierce crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group.

The result has been a long, grinding conflict centered on el-Arish and nearby villages. The militants have been unable to control territory, but the military and security forces have also been unable to bring security, as the extremists continuously carry out attacks.

The attacks have largely focused on military and police, killing hundreds, although exact numbers are unclear as journalists and independent investigators are banned from the area. The militants have also assassinated individuals the group considers spies for the government or religious heretics.

Egypt has also faced attacks by militants in its Western Desert.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/at-least-155-killed-in-attack-on-mosque-in-egypts-sinai/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/AP17328788172820.jpgInjured people are evacuated from the scene of a militant attack on a mosque in Bir al-Abd in the northern Sinai Peninsula of Egypt on Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. In the deadliest-ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt, militants assaulted a crowded mosque Friday during prayers, blasting helpless worshippers with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades and blocking their escape routes. More than 200 people were killed before the assailants got away. (AP Photo)Fri, 24 Nov 2017 20:03:57 +0000
U.S. Navy calls off search for 3 missing after plane crash in Pacific http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/u-s-navy-calls-off-search-for-3-missing-after-plane-crash-in-pacific/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/u-s-navy-calls-off-search-for-3-missing-after-plane-crash-in-pacific/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:25:54 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/u-s-navy-calls-off-search-for-3-missing-after-plane-crash-in-pacific/ TOKYO — The U.S. Navy called off its search for three sailors missing since Wednesday, when a transport plane crashed in the Pacific Ocean on its way to the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier.

Eight people were rescued and are in good condition, but the remaining three sailors had not been found after two days of searching, the Navy’s 7th Fleet, which is based in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, said in a statement Friday.

The Reagan had been leading the search effort, joined by eight U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force ships, three helicopter squadrons and maritime patrol aircraft.

A C2-A Greyhound assigned launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan on Nov. 17. Wednesday’s crash was the first since 1973 that a C2-A had been involved in a fatal crash. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Eduardo Otero/U.S. Navy via AP

They had covered nearly 1,000 square nautical miles in the search for the sailors, who had been missing since the C-2A Greyhound crashed about halfway between Okinawa and Guam on Wednesday afternoon.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our lost shipmates and their families,” said Rear Adm. Marc Dalton, Commander of Task Force 70. “As difficult as this is, we are thankful for the rapid and effective response that led to the rescue of eight of our shipmates.”

The C2-A transport plane with 11 on board crashed near Okinotorishima, Japan, Wednesday.

The names of the sailors have not been released as their families are still being informed.

The C-2A, a twin-engine cargo plane designed to transport people and supplies to and from aircraft carriers, was on a routine flight from Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in southern Japan to the Reagan, which was in the Philippine Sea for exercises.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known and an investigation is being conducted.

This is the first time since 1973 that a Navy C2-A has been involved in a fatal crash. Then, seven people were killed when both of the aircraft’s engines failed shortly after take off from Chania-Souda airport in Greece.

This crash comes at the end of a bad year for the 7th Fleet, which had already lost 17 sailors in two separate collisions involving guided-missile destroyers.

Ten sailors were killed when the USS John S. McCain collided with an oil tanker near Singapore in August, and seven died when the USS Fitzgerald ran into a much heavier container ship off the coast of Japan in June.

The Navy removed the admiral in charge from his position in August, citing a “loss of confidence” in his ability to lead, and the Navy’s top admiral ordered a fleetwide review of seamanship and training in the Pacific after the McCain collision.

The Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, left Yokosuka Friday, headed to Pascagoula, Mississippi, for repairs. The Fitzgerald was towed to deep water and over the next few days will be lifted onto the heavy lift transport vessel Transshelf to be moved to the Huntington Ingalls Industries shipbuilding facility in Mississippi for repairs and upgrades.

The McCain and Fitzgerald incidents followed a collision between another guided-missile cruiser, the USS Lake Champlain, and a South Korean fishing vessel, and an embarrassing incident when the guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam ran aground in Tokyo Bay in January.

Just last week, the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, was scraped by a Japanese tug during a towing exercise. The destroyer sustained minimal damage.

The 7th Fleet has about 50 to 70 ships assigned to it and is responsible for an area that spans 36 maritime countries and 48 million square miles in the Pacific and Indian oceans, according to the Navy.

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Fund to help a ‘selfless’ homeless man collects more than $280,000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/fund-to-help-a-selfless-homeless-man-collects-more-than-280000/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/fund-to-help-a-selfless-homeless-man-collects-more-than-280000/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 13:01:53 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/fund-to-help-a-selfless-homeless-man-collects-more-than-280000/ PHILADELPHIA — A fund set up to raise money for a homeless man who helped a woman when her car ran out of gas in Philadelphia has collected more than $280,000.

The GoFundMe campaign was started by Bordentown, New Jersey, resident Kate McClure this month after she was stuck along Interstate 95 and Johnny Bobbitt Jr. bought her some gas with his last $20.

McClure says she didn’t have money to pay him back but she returned to his spot several times in the following days to give him cash, clothes and food. She says she then started the fundraiser hoping to collect $10,000 to cover housing and other expenses for him.

McClure says she wishes she “could do more for this selfless man.”

Donations had poured in from about 10,000 people by Thursday.

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Tribal representative in Maine House leaves Democrats to join Greens http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/tribal-representative-in-maine-house-leaves-democrats-to-join-greens/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/tribal-representative-in-maine-house-leaves-democrats-to-join-greens/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/tribal-representative-in-maine-house-leaves-democrats-to-join-greens/

Rep. Henry Bear

HOULTON — A tribal representative in Maine’s House of Representatives has left the Democrats to become a Green Independent Party member.

Rep. Henry Bear’s a member of the Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians and a non-voting member of the Legislature. He joins Rep. Ralph Chapman of Brooksville as the second Green member of the Legislature.

Bear says he feels aligned with Greens on issues such as environment, civil rights and income equality. He says he also agrees with Greens about expanded health care.

Chapman left the Democrats to join the Greens in September. He says he’s looking forward to working with Bear as a member of the same party.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett said the two parties “share a commitment to protecting Maine’s environment and advancing social and economic equality.”

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Black Friday shoppers flock to Maine stores for predawn deals http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-shoppers-flock-to-scaled-back-midnight-openings/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-shoppers-flock-to-scaled-back-midnight-openings/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 10:47:18 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2017/11/24/black-friday-shoppers-flock-to-scaled-back-midnight-openings/ Lack of participation by several major retailers didn’t stop thousands of shoppers from staying up late to snag limited-time bargains at Black Friday midnight openings across southern Maine.

The move by some retailers to open at 6 a.m. this year instead of midnight to spare workers and reduce overhead did lead to a bit of confusion, as evidenced by a slow procession of vehicles passing in front of Target in South Portland and then going away. Target was among the retailers that opened at midnight in previous years but opted for a 6 a.m. opening Friday.

In the last minutes before the store opened, 10-year-old Deshawn Lamour bounced anxiously on his tip toes and rubbed his gloved hands together to stay warm.

The Portland boy was the first in line and intended to leave with a $250 55-inch television he had saved up to buy. He and his mother, Melynda Dunlap, arrived at 10 p.m. Thursday.

“It was a lot of fun,” Lamour said of the overnight in line, which included side trips to nearby stores to shop and warm up. “A lot of people left the (Target) line because it opens at 6 a.m.”

The later opening time caught some shoppers off guard but gave them time to hunt for deals elsewhere before coming back.

“I was already waiting in one line for three hours and now I’m waiting in another for three hours,” said Carol Rickett of Portland, who was shopping at Target with her son, Daniel Hill.

They had already been to Walmart for a quick 20-minute stop, but encountered long lines at Kohl’s.

“It was a nightmare,” Rickett said with a laugh. “You do it for the kids.”

Overall, retailers in Maine said they are going into the season with a fair amount of optimism.

The Friday before Christmas – not Black Friday – was the busiest shopping day in Maine in 2016, according to a study of 450 Maine retailers. The study, by San Francisco-based merchant technology firm Womply Inc., found that Maine retailers had their highest sales on Dec. 23, followed by Black Friday (Nov. 25) and then Small Business Saturday (Nov. 26).

STORMS, E-COMMERCE CAN TAKE TOLL

In 2016, Maine retailers took in an average of 176 percent of normal daily revenue on the Friday before Christmas, 174 percent on Black Friday and 159 percent on Small Business Saturday, according to Womply.

Inclement weather in November and December could dictate how good the holiday retail season is, said Curtis Picard, president and CEO of the Retail Association of Maine. If it happens early enough, consumers can simply postpone their shopping, but it can be devastating if a storm hits right before Christmas because there’s no time left for retailers to make up the lost business.

Another threat to retailers this holiday season is the continued encroachment on their sales by e-commerce businesses. Picard said bricks-and-mortar merchants are making a variety of adjustments to better compete with online retailers, such as offering in-store pickup and same-day delivery of items ordered online or by phone, and adding entertainment, refreshments and other perks to make shopping in the store more enjoyable.

Mike Martel of Lewiston arrived at the Maine Mall, where some stores opened at midnight to long lines, around 5:45 a.m. with his sister Kathy Bilier and niece Lynn Carmichael. They shop together at the mall every Black Friday and were surprised by the lack of large crowds this year.

“We think Amazon has kind of killed Black Friday,” Bilier said.

“This is nothing,” Martel added. “This is like a Saturday morning. I remember times you couldn’t move in here.”

Carmichael, who carried several shopping bags, said she was able to find lots of gifts for people on her list.

“But I ordered stuff from Amazon while I was in the mall today,” she said.

Nycole Nadeau of Brunswick sipped coffee while standing behind her display of LipSense by Senegence products. She and several other local vendors were selling products at the mall as part of a three-day holiday event organized by Maine Supporting Maine.

Nadeau said the mall was crowded at midnight, with lots of teenagers and people headed straight for doorbuster sales.

“I’m usually a Black Friday shopper so I know how it is,” she said.

Nadeau said she expects interest in her products to pick up over the weekend.

BEST BUY DRAWS HUNDREDS

By far the biggest draw for shoppers was electronics retailer Best Buy, which saw hundreds of people lined up outside before its midnight opening time, all hoping to land a doorbuster deal.

The most dedicated Best Buy shoppers were Solomon Benami and his friend Jackson Cochrane, both 15-year-olds from Saco, who literally camped out at the front of the line, tent and all.

“We got here Wednesday at 2 p.m.,” Benami said. “It’s been cold, definitely cold, and raining.”

The friends said they played card games, listened to music and pushed each other around in shopping carts to pass the time while they waited for the store to open. They even took a nap in the tent.

Both Benami and Cochrane were after the same thing: a 50-inch, 4K ultra-high-definition smart TV made by Sharp for $179.

Benami had intended to surprise his parents with the TV, but it didn’t take them long to wonder where their son was and call him up. So they decided to bring food and keep him company while he waited.

“I missed him being home,” said Benami’s mother, Edna Benami. “I was like, ‘Let’s go check on him.’ ”

Excluding the Best Buy line outside at midnight, teens made up at least 80 percent of the mall crowd, with a scattering of semireluctant parents in tow.

“I’m here for Amanda, my daughter,” said Gorham resident Sheila Richardson. “She spends all Thanksgiving making a (Black Friday) plan. She’s putting the first load into the car right now.”

Stores appealing to teens attracted the biggest crowds, including clothing store Pink and video game seller Game Stop. Some of the other merchants didn’t seem to be doing much business at all, even though the mall was packed.

“The adults will come out tomorrow,” said Damian Michael, who was operating a LuLaRoe women’s clothing kiosk inside the mall with his wife, Erica Michael.

The couple said they started setting up Thursday afternoon and were planning to work a 24-hour shift until they were relieved by friends Friday afternoon.

“We actually got a hotel room right across the street, so that makes it easy for us,” Damian Michael said. “We’re here through Sunday, so we’re hoping for a good weekend overall.”

Prakash Sethia of Scarborough was pulling double duty inside the mall, manning two adjacent kiosks simultaneously. Given the high concentration of teens at midnight, he wasn’t expecting many sales from his kiosk of handmade jewelry boxes, candle stands, copper cups and other products imported from India.

But Sethia’s other booth was packed with all manner of toys, including remote-controlled cars, helicopter drones and other high-tech gadgets.

“We’re hoping for business to really boom,” he said. “So far it’s going great.”

Some of the adults seemed to be surveying the chaotic scene with a tinge of unease, including Oxford resident Ryan LaVerdiere, who said he was only there because a friend wanted to go.

“This might have been the last thing I thought I’d ever do,” he said.

When asked if there was anything in particular he was looking for at the mall, LaVerdiere replied, “Just the exit.”

LINES ‘INSANE’ IN FREEPORT

Twenty miles north in Freeport’s downtown shopping district, foot traffic early Friday morning was lighter but contained a higher concentration of hardcore shoppers. People of all ages were moving from store to store, many of them laden with multiple shopping bags.

“We came to Freeport because the (South) Portland mall wasn’t open yet,” said Lewiston resident Jonathan Poulin, who was there shopping with his sister Trisha Poulin of South Portland.

Freeport is home to outdoor retailer L.L. Bean, open all year round, 24 hours a day, and one of the only major retailers in Maine that is exempt from the state’s “blue law” prohibiting most stores from being open on Thanksgiving. About a dozen other Freeport retailers, mostly clothing and accessories stores, opened at midnight on Black Friday.

Early Friday morning, the Poulin siblings hit some clothing stores before calling it a night.

“I have to work at, like, 5 a.m.,” Jonathan Poulin said.

By Friday afternoon, cars were circling Freeport parking lots searching for a space and lines stretched out the door at the stores.

Anne Edward of Boston and her family have made an annual Black Friday day trip to Freeport for a dozen years, and this year was no exception. Her husband Mike said he thinks this year is even busier than usual.

“The lines in the stores are insane,” Anne Edward added. The family was tailgating at lunch, eating homemade turkey sandwiches out of the bed of their truck. Their second car, a sedan in the next parking space, was already filled with packages.

She said the family started tailgating after finding it hard to find an easy lunch spot. “I always come up with a plan.”

In Portland’s Old Port, business was steady but unhurried, with available parking spots and sidewalks easily navigated.

“This time of year can be ‘November quiet,’ ” said Beverly Kocenko, co-founder of Liberty Graphics and manager of the Portland store. “They will come. But today’s a day of relaxation after the holiday.”

The last several weekends have been “busy, busy, busy” at Liberty Graphics, which mostly stocks T-shirts with Maine-themed images.

Several local businesses said that Saturday’s “Shop Small Saturday,” a marketing effort aimed at bringing attention to local businesses, will bring bigger crowds.

“Tomorrow is going to be a madhouse,” said Marie Stewart Harmon, the manager of Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine shop on Exchange Street and the daughter of owner Lisa Marie Stewart. Glancing over at two employees at the front register, she laughed: “I told them to buckle in! It’s the end of the slow period.”

Local businesses count on shoppers who want a Maine-made or unique gift.

“I have found that more and more people are shopping local,” Stewart said. On Black Friday, she said, “everyone goes to the mall.”

Shopper Nonnie Preuss of Boston said that’s why she made a point of coming to downtown Portland.

“We wanted to get locally made crafts,” said Preuss, as she picked out Christmas tree ornaments – a lobster in a trap and a lobster buoy – at Lisa Marie’s Made in Maine.

Staff Writer Noel K. Gallagher contributed to this report.

Gillian Graham can be contacted at:

ggraham@pressherald.com

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at:

canderson@pressherald.comStaff photo by Brianna Soukup

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Our View: Out-of-state students one way to counter stagnant growth http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/our-view-out-of-state-students-one-way-to-counter-stagnant-growth/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/our-view-out-of-state-students-one-way-to-counter-stagnant-growth/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:10:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779876 Out-of-state enrollment in the University of Maine System is at an all-time high, and that’s good news in more ways than one.

First, because those students pay higher tuition that in-state students, the uptick in enrollment — primarily at University of Southern Maine and the Orono flagship campus — has led to a relatively modest increase in revenue.

But more importantly, it means the state is drawing new people to within its borders, people who if they stay following graduation can help grow the workforce at a time when Maine’s population is stagnant and its economy is badly in need of more workers.

It’s a problem that is affecting nearly every industry. Local government is just the latest area to wonder where its next generation of workers will come from — municipal officials across the state are saying they are not sure just how they are going to fill the spots left when their predominantly older workers retire.

That’s the story not only with municipal workers, but also law enforcement, teachers, construction workers, nurses and doctors and throughout the manufacturing and hospitality fields. Whether it is to replace retired workers and grow the business, employers throughout Maine just can’t find enough qualified candidates.

Each of the fields has issues specific to their industry, but all have one thing in common — they are drawing from a limited pool of workers. Certainly, the state needs to do more to turn Maine’s high school graduates into skilled employees, but even if every high school graduate stays in Maine and gets the qualifications necessary to land one of these jobs, there still isn’t enough of them — Maine’s population, up just .12 percent from 2010-15, just is not growing fast enough, and the growth has been centered in the southern part of the state, while central and northern Maine shrinks.

So that means Maine needs more people who weren’t born here to come to study and work — professionals from other states drawn by the Maine lifestyle, immigrants and refugees who can inject new energy into our communities, and out-of-state students.

The university system has known that for some time, and the results are impressive. The number of out-of-state students has grown 36 percent in five years, and they now make up 20 percent of enrollment.

But getting them here is just the start — university officials say 22 percent of out-of-state students stay in Maine following graduation.

Most college graduates who leave the area where they studied do so primarily for job considerations, so it is important the university system takes steps to connect students to opportunities here before they graduate; internships are a proven way to accomplish that.

Affordable housing also is a major consideration for graduates, another reason that issue is so important.

The problem is as simple as it is difficult to overcome — Maine does not have enough people to rev its economy, and that will sentence the state to less-than-average growth until it is solved.

The University of Maine System is on its way to helping out, but there is much more work to do.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid is the best family car on the market http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/2017-chrysler-pacifica-hybrid-is-the-best-family-car-on-the-market/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/2017-chrysler-pacifica-hybrid-is-the-best-family-car-on-the-market/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:38 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779457 Drop one kid at one school, then drop another kid at other school. Go to work meeting. Stop for coffee. Hit the store.

Go home. Leave home. Finish the errands. Pick up one kid, drop off at practice. Pick up other kid, take to friend’s house. Forget something; go get it. Pick up one kid; pick up the other kid. Forget dinner; go out to eat.

Total mileage: 20 miles.

Total time in car: living the dream.

This day in the life of a parent like me in a family car like the Chrysler Pacifica minivan (base price: $44,995; as tested, $46,790) could have one fewer to-do: the twice-a-week stop at the gas station.

One fewer to-do is no small ado, and this is the promise of the plug-in hybrid family vehicle: to make life easier, better.

The plug-in variant of the Pacifica, last year’s winning successor to the Town and Country, means that most driving can be sourced from a plug in the garage. And when the family needs to ship the eldest kid to college, or road trip to that state-wide performance, or simply visit the far-flung family, the adapted 3.6-liter V-6 engine provides plenty of power as it normally would to travel up to 566 miles.

The only compromise with the PHEV is there are no available second-row stow-and-go seats because the 16-kWh battery pack is in the floor. The only criticism is, the gear dial is too close to the other dials on the center console.

Around town, the Pacifica gets 33 miles of all-electric range in the quietest ride ever to be had in the minivan. This too is no small thing. The transition to engine power, under heavy throttle when fleeing the strictures of the subdivision, say, or cruising on the highway is hardly noticeable.

The energy display on the wide and clear touch screen is the only clear giveaway, and that display also shows energy captured from regenerative braking and energy used from the climate system to better predict how much electric power will be used on a certain trip.

On one commute, starting with 33 miles of electric range, we covered 15 miles on the highway and 10 on the main streets with all the cozy heated elements. The Pacifica PHEV returned 58.6 mpg, and the gas engine was only used on 1.5 miles.

On the return commute, starting with no charge, we averaged 26.9 mpg; nearly seven miles were on battery power due to regenerative braking.

Let’s say that the most fuel-efficient minivan ever – probably the most fuel-efficient seven-seat personal vehicle – doesn’t matter much because gas prices are low, or the 31 percent reduction in its environmental impact compared to the outgoing Town & Country doesn’t matter much because planet shmanet, then consider the personal cost of ownership.

There are so many factors in calculating per charge usage, but a conservative per mile estimate at the average rate of electricity in the U.S. at 12 cents per kwh, is 6 cents per electric mile; the average per mile cost of a gallon of gas at a national average of $2.51 a gallon at an average fuel economy of 25.3 mpg, is 10 cents.

That average mpg is what only the most fuel-efficient three-row vehicles get, such as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid.

There’s more to the dollars and sense equation. As of now, the Pacifica PHEV qualifies for the full $7,500 federal tax credit, so the two top trims in either Premium or Platinum will total under $40,000.

Trimmed out, the Honda Odyssey Elite and Toyota Sienna Limited cost about $47,000. The top-of-the-line Platinum tester, which comes with advanced driver assist systems such as adaptive cruise and park assist, as well as seatback video screens, is $44,995 before the federal tax credit, and before whatever state incentives there may be.

Am I gushing? I should have better self-control. Does it impugn my character that I like minivans? Fine, I’ll wave my dork flag on the besieged principles of logic and economics.

Due to its electrified powertrain and ability to sit seven comfortably, the Pacifica PHEV is not only without peer as the best family car on the market, it is an imminent forecast of the type of powertrains to slake our thirst for large, fuel-sucking vehicles. That’s something the kids can appreciate.

 

 

 

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Sediment behind Royal River dam found fairly clean http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/sediment-behind-royal-river-dam-found-fairly-clean/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/sediment-behind-royal-river-dam-found-fairly-clean/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/?p=1292372 An environmental analysis of sediments behind Yarmouth’s Bridge Street Dam found a few spots of lower-level contamination but largely gave the stretch of Royal River a clean bill of health despite its industrial past.

The Nature Conservancy hired a firm several years ago to test samples on the Royal River at a time when town residents and organizations were debating whether to remove or bypass the lower dam. While Yarmouth officials have since shelved those discussions – at least at the town level – The Nature Conservancy went forward with the testing.

The results were reviewed by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection this summer and summarized in a memo sent Monday to town officials.

“The Maine Department of Environmental Protection analysis of the sediment findings shows that the Royal River behind the Bridge Street Dam is in fact clean and relatively free of contaminants in the sediment,” Jeremy Bell, river and coastal restoration program director with The Nature Conservancy, wrote in the memo. “They provide residents and neighbors assurance that our river is safe.”

The firm Stantec collected sediment samples in 2015 from 10 sites behind the Bridge Street Dam, which measures 10 feet high and 275 feet wide. The dam, which creates the impoundment and flatwater popular with paddlers and ice skaters, still features a small hydroelectric facility and has been the site of numerous industrial operations over generations.

One sample contained slightly elevated levels of mercury, but the results were well below the concentrations that the DEP says would have “probable effects” on animal or plant life.

Two of the 10 samples contained levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a common class of compounds resulting from the burning of fossil fuels or that come from substances made with fossil fuels, including asphalt. One of those samples was taken next to an area where runoff drains from Route 1 – a fact noted by DEP staffers who reviewed the results. But DEP staff said the overall concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, in the sediments behind the dam “would be much lower” than the concentration likely to affect health.

“That there is some contamination of PAHs is not surprising given the industrial history and current vehicle traffic and other human activity in the watershed,” DEP biologist Barry Mower wrote in an analysis of the test results.

Also, concentrations of mercury – a neurotoxin found in many of New England’s industrial rivers – were lower in the sediments behind the Bridge Street Dam than in the estuary below the impoundment.

Bell said he was not surprised by the results, given earlier tests that showed relatively low contamination. But the Yarmouth resident said he hopes the results will offer some assurance to residents who still ask him about potential contamination behind the dam.

“It shows overall that the site is clean,” Bell said. “We were trying to be very careful and very cautious, and to take a close look at the site for any problems that may come up.”

The issue of potential contamination came up repeatedly during the years of discussions about the future of the two Royal River dams in Yarmouth, at Bridge Street and East Elm Street. Downriver residents and businesses, such as boat yards, expressed concerns that removing the dams or even building new fish bypasses around the structures could send contaminated sediments downstream.

The town of Yarmouth owns the Bridge Street Dam. Town Manager Nat Tupper said he’s not hearing any interest among town leaders in removing the dam that creates the impoundment, which is popular with paddlers throughout Greater Portland and is used by L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Programs.

Tupper said the results of Stantec’s analysis confirmed his beliefs, based on previous testing, that there was relatively little contamination.

After pushing for years to remove the two lower dams on the river, conservation groups have shifted their focus toward improving the fishways that allow migratory fish to swim around the structures. Fish passage around the Bridge Street and East Elm Street dams is inadequate during much of the year and impedes access to more than 100 miles of watershed for migratory fish, such as alewives, eels and shad.

Tupper said organizations continue to discuss fish passage options around the dams. A local resident involved in renewable energy also continues to explore the possibility of revitalizing the Sparhawk Mill hydroelectric facilities located just upstream from the Bridge Street Dam, Tupper said.

He said the contamination study results, while not unexpected, will likely be well received.

“It’s good news,” Tupper said Wednesday. “Nobody likes to see contamination in the river.”

 

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/sediment-behind-royal-river-dam-found-fairly-clean/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292372_400290-20171122_dam_3.jpgThe Bridge Street Dam creates the impoundment and flatwater popular with paddlers and skaters.Thu, 23 Nov 2017 20:25:21 +0000
Maine company’s solar power systems to aid Puerto Rico http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-companys-solar-power-systems-to-aid-puerto-rico/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-companys-solar-power-systems-to-aid-puerto-rico/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=780056 A Maine solar energy company is building emergency equipment for parts of Puerto Rico still without power two months after a powerful hurricane devastated the island.

ReVision Energy has partnered with a national solar electricity cooperative and international relief organization to build and deploy dozens of portable trailers outfitted with solar panels to provide emergency power.

“There are still hundreds of thousands of people who do not have any power whatsoever,” said ReVision co-founder Phil Coupe. “They are not expected to get power for a long time. This will come in very handy for the folks who have been without electricity for so long.”

Called “solar outreach systems” – or SOS – the 12-foot-long trailers are equipped with six solar panels that can be folded onto the trailer body. The small systems will generate enough power to charge cellphones, lights, radios and laptop computers.

“This is going to be supplemental emergency power for basic lighting, small electronics, communications,” Coupe said. “We won’t be able to run buildings.”

Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm, blew through Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, ruining the island’s electricity grid and leaving millions without power and clean water. As of Monday, about 47 percent of Puerto Rico had electricity, according to the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

ReVision will install solar cells on trailers at its North Andover, Massachusetts, warehouse before shipping them to Puerto Rico. The Aireko Foundation, a wing of Puerto Rican Aireko Energy Solutions, will deploy the systems. ReVision has offices in Portland and Liberty in Maine, and in Brentwood and Concord, New Hampshire.

ReVision plans to outfit 10 systems initially, and 100 in total. It may take three to six months to finish building all the planned units, Coupe said.

Although Puerto Rican authorities and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hope to restore power generation to most of the island by the end of the year, the ReVision systems will be important resources because they can be redeployed to other places that need emergency power, Coupe said. The systems will be loaned to communities for as long as they’re needed.

“Based on the level of damage that we are getting reports on, these things will be useful for a year or more,” he said.

The panels and trailers were initially provided by Amicus, a solar purchasing cooperative based in Colorado. ReVision and Aireko are Amicus members.

“It is a 100 percent volunteer donation. Nobody is getting paid,” Coupe said.

The systems will provide relief, but also showcase solar power’s ability to provide reliable power in areas prone to harsh weather and widespread power loss, including Maine, Coupe said.

ReVision and other companies are increasingly being asked to build solar systems with battery storage for emergency power during weather events like the windstorms that knocked out power to almost 500,000 Maine homes and businesses in late October.

“We are preparing for a climate where bad weather events are getting worse all the time,” Coupe said. “In that environment, a utility grid infrastructure with poles and wires is extremely vulnerable. Systems with power regeneration and batteries are proving to be resilient to those events.”

 

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-companys-solar-power-systems-to-aid-puerto-rico/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292340_Puerto_Rico_Power_Company_7.jpgTwo months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, over half its residents are still without power as lines in San Juan and other places have yet to be repaired. Maine-based ReVision Energy plans to aid the island with small systems powered by the sun.Thu, 23 Nov 2017 19:42:40 +0000
Damariscotta’s secondhand book shop plans events http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/damariscottas-secondhand-book-shop-plans-events/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/damariscottas-secondhand-book-shop-plans-events/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779916 Skidompha Secondhand Book Shop in Damariscotta has announced two special events: its first-ever story hour, which is the beginning of a regular program new to the shop; and a sale on all things holiday-related.

On Saturday, Nov. 25, as part of the Villages of Light celebration, everything related to the holidays, including books and music, will be on sale at half price. The sale will start that day and continue until the shop closes for Christmas at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 24.

On Friday, Dec. 1, the shop will offer its first-ever story hour, with Mark Ferrero, youth services children’ librarian at Skidompha library. Story hour begins at 10 a.m., and children of all ages are invited. Ferrero will share stories at the same time every Friday after that. These story times are in addition to the popular story hours he hosts at the library.

The Skidompha Book Shop, located on Back Street Landing, is managed and staffed entirely by volunteers, and all items are donated. In 2018, it will celebrate its 50th anniversary of providing financial support to Skidompha library.

The shop’s regular hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursdays. From now until Christmas, it will also be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Donations are accepted whenever the shop is open.

For more information, call the shop at 563-7807, or visit its page on the library’s website skidompha.org.

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Messalonskee High School honor roll http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/messalonskee-high-school-honor-roll-11/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/messalonskee-high-school-honor-roll-11/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779915 Messalonskee High School in Oakland has announced its first-quarter honor roll for the 2017-18 academic year.

Seniors — High honors with distinction: Benjamin Amalfitano, Alden Balboni, Kayla Begin, Ryan Boyle, Libby Breznyak, Mackenzie Burton, Derrick Butler, Elijah Caret, Nathan Casey, Jesse Chanthaseng, Makenzie Charest, Colby Charette, John Luke DAmico, Emma Dehetre, Stephon Dube, Anya Fegel, Geoffrey Fotter, Emma Godleski, Hannah Hargrove, Sarah Labbe, Jordyn Lambert, Haley Lowell, Sarah Martin, Robin McCarthyOFlaherty, Breana Megivern, Lauren Mercier, Noah Milne, Jenna Nash, Alexis Palleschi, Tyler Pellerin, Nathan Perkins, Lauren Pickett, Abbey Prescott, Rachel Pushard, Jacey Richard, Cole Smith, Mackenzi Veilleux, Nicolas Veilleux and Gracie Vicente.

High honors: Christian Alley, Jacob Bernatchez, Kaylee Burbank, Percival Carey, Dawson Charles, Jack DiGirolamo, Ethan Duperry, Conor Ferguson, Alexis Gagne, David Hreben, Zackary Hubbard, Gabriel Lenfestey, Tyler Lewis, Emma Libby, Emma Manley, Blake Marden, Emilee Marr, Ryan McCarthy, Kai McGlauflin, Aurora Morin, Zachary Nadeau, Tyler Noonan, Sydney Orcutt, Lauren Patrie, Molly Pooler, Parker Poulin, Caitlynne Scamman, Charles Scamman, Ally Stevens, Averi Taylor, Danika Tondreau, Matthew Trembly, Trisha Trinidad, Noah Tuttle, Maxwell Walsh, Chase Warren, Caitlin Wilkie, Makayla Wilson and Alexander Yotides.

Honors: Ronald Burwood, Levi Cates, Marc Cote, Bailey Cyr, Gage Derbyshire, Olivia Flood, Madyson Foster, Tristan Frost, Keegan Haines, Alec McCutcheon, Michael Pope, Dawson Poulin, Keegan Poulin, Michael Poulin, Nicholas Poulliot, Nathan Ruel and Cole Wood.

Juniors — High honors with distinction: Peyton Arbour, Amelia Bradfield, Molly Calkins, Grace Carlson, Brandon Condon, Julia Cooke, Noah Cummings, Gabriel Denbow, Adam DeWitt, Gabrielle Elkin, Lillie Fortier, Alexandra Frost, Alyssa Genness, Emily Giguere, Ethan Gilles, Alannah Hartford, Markiana Hewett, Clayton Hoyle, Delaney Johnston, Emma Kennard, Sarah Kohl, Micheala Lamontagne, Thomas LaPlante, Emily Larsen, Paige Lilly, Autumn Littlefield, Molly Mackenzie, Ella Moore, Mara Nickerson, Emily Parent, Caitlin Parks, Zoe Penttila, Kaiisha Pluard, Katelyn Robertson, Kaitlin Seekins, Tara Seymour, Dean Simpson, Edin Sisson, Kaitlyn Smith, Leah Smith, Madison St.Pierre, Adelyat Tokhtayeva, Morgan Veilleux, Julia Vigue, Emma Wentworth, Magan Williams and Kendra Wormell.

High honors: Taylor Baker, Haleigh Chambers, Colton Chavarie, Alexis Crowell, Jacob Dexter, Grace Elliott, Michael Estes, Shelby Fletcher, Daniel Fulling, Elena Guarino, Joshua Janprom, Emilija Kleinschmidt, Amber Kochaver, Olivia Lagace, Ethan Lahaye, Carter Lambert, Rylee Landry, AlexisJordan Lizotte, Eli Michaud, Duncan Morrell, Ian Nadeau, Jillian Pino, Mckenzie Pratt, Ryan Pullen, Megan Quirion, Olivia Roy, Kassidy Sienko, Hunter Smart, Gabrielle Spear, Ariana Veilleux, Chase Veregge, Abigail Watson, Hannah Wentworth, Myranda Wohlford, Gabrielle WoodMcGuckin and Kaiya Worthing.

Honors: Izaac Alderman, Reilly Benecke, Joseph Damon, Leah Douglass, Keanna Frappier, Andrew LaVerdiere, Laura Linehan, Molly Milligan and Autumn Reardon.

Sophomores — High honors with distinction: Nicholas Alexander, Connor Alley, Ava Ardito, Abigayle Barney, Sami Benayad, Brianne Benecke, Taylor Bernier, Lauren Bourque, Lydia Bradfield, Alexa Brennan, Paige Burnworth, Tucker Charles, Patrick Chisum, Jonathan Christopher, Sadie Colby, Emma Concaugh, Cameron Croft, Emily Crowell, Dylan Cunningham, Hannah DelGiudice, Emma DiGirolamo, TaylorJeffery Doone, Cooper Doucette, Joseph Fougere, Brennen Francis, Molly Glueck, Martin Guarnieri, Danielle Hall, Benjamin Hellen, Travis Hosea, Shane Kauppinen, Nathan Kinney, Joshua Languet, Hanna Lavenson, Daimian Lewis, Eve Lilly, Sarah Lowell, Katie Luce, Pablo Marciel, Alyssa Mathieu, Mackenzie Mayo, William McPherson, Ella Nash, Kailey Pelletier, Rosemary Peterson, Alexander Pierce, Alysan Rancourt, Elijah Ross, Isaiah Shuman, Dharani Singaram, Emily Smith, Makenzie Smith, Victoria Terranova, Deklan Thurston, Eliza Towle, Sydney Townsend, Brandon Veilleux, Kaitlyn Vigue, Isaac Violette and Gabrielle Wener.

High honors: Andrew Brann, Hannah Butler, Salvatore Caccamo, Maya Chalmers, Bradley Condon, Anne Corbett, Breanna Corbin, Ainsley Corson, Hannah Cummings, Rayven Currie, Lydia DAmico, Cassidy Day, Jordan Devine, Kristen Dexter, Cade Ennis, Nicolas Fontaine, Amelia Gallagher, Joshua Goff, Shaylee Greene, Maxwell Hopper, Christopher King, Kristen Lamanteer, Isabelle Languet, Addison Littlefield, Sydney Lucas, Caleb Luce, Isabella Luce, Connor McCurdy, Aislinn McDaniel, Meghan McQuillan, Nathan Milne, Jacob Perry, Nathalie Poulin, Colby Prosser, Valerie Quirion, Hunter Smith, Richard Thompson, Chloe Tilley, Jade Veilleux, Maria Veilleux, William Wentworth, Rebekah White and Haley Wilkie.

Honors: Madison Beaulieu, Sydney Brenda, Kaiya Charles, Abbie Clark, William Cole, Austin Damren, Hannah Ellis, Lauren Fortin, Alexis Furbush, Sara Getchell, Alexander Jackson, Madison Jewell, Tabitha Lake, Jayden Lenfestey, Benoit Levesque, Leighara McDaniel, Kassie McMullen, Joselyn Ouellette, Adam Pooler, Melayna Porter, Rylee Poulin, Dalton Pushard, Kyera Ripley, Sean Rodrigue, Taylor Staples and Aran Walker.

Freshmen — High honors with distinction: Logan Alexander, Alexis Ames, Gemini August, Julia Bard, Mariah Bean, Alyssa Bell, Brynn Boisvert, Olivia Boudreau, Justin Bowman, Gavin Bressette, Abigail Breznyak, Grace Bridges, Luke Buck, Kierra Bumford, Jordyn Caouette, Jenna Cassani, Olivia Chabot, Ambrosina Cianfarano, Evan DeMott, Katelyn Douglass, Taryn Drolet, Kristen Dube, Paige Dudley, Dylan Flewelling, Sophia Fortin, Elizabeth Fulling, Rylie Genest, Ashton Harding, Timothy Hatt, Gabriel Katz, Emily Levesque, Kylie Lyford, Brooke Martin, Andrew Mayo, Grace McCarthy, Aiden McGlauflin, Paige Meader, Olivia Otis, Matthew Parent, Emma Parrish, Lyndsey Patrie, Braylee Peterson, Ela Peterson, Caleb Sadler, Olivia Saucier, Kasen Sirois, Cloe Sisson, Gabriella Smart, Ella Smith, Taylor Veilleux, Charlotte Wentworth, Hayden Wilkie, Lily Wilkie, Allison Wills, Megan Wilson and Noah Wood.

High honors: Willow Blanchette, Valerie Capeless, Madyson Card, Shauna Clark, Logan Cummings, Conner Dammschroeder, Abigail Dorval, Logan Doucette, Kayley Ennis, Emilia Frost, Sierra Gagnon, Myles Hammond, Owen Hargrove, Abbigail Hreben, Adam Jackman, Juliana Jolin, Emma Ketch, Jackson Liberty, Bryce Little, Brynn Lozinski, Shelby Lyons, Reise Marshall, Bradley Mullen, Trevor Norton, Tyesn Paz, Joshua Poulin, Jenna Shorey, Lindsey Sirois, James Smith,Trent Thompson, Meagan Tracy, Riley Waraskevich and Isaac Worcester.

Honors: Brody Armstrong, Elijah Burton, Evan Fisher, Nathaniel French, Shawn King, David Kopyto, Christopher Lamontagne, Acadia Morin, Taylor Pacholski, Phoenix Sanchez, Cameron Shenett and Zedakiah Sprague.

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CATC October Students of the Month http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/catc-october-students-of-the-month/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/catc-october-students-of-the-month/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779912 Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta has announced its October Students of the Month, according to a CATC news release.

Joshua Clukey is a senior at Monmouth Academy enrolled in the graphic design and printing program for the second year. He has enjoyed learning the computer programs needed to work in the graphic design industry. Last year, he won the local SkillsUSA competition in advertising design and traveled to Bangor to compete in the State SkillsUSA competition. He is looking forward to that opportunity again this year. His instructor, Jessica Douin said, “Josh is a very motivated second-year student who is excelling at every project that is given to him. He is always willing to help out the instructor and is a great reference for first year students,” according to the release.

Clukey has been accepted to Central Maine Community College and plans to major in graphic design to pursue a future career in advertising design.

Anthony Sousa is a senior from Cony High School, enrolled for the third year at Capital Area Technical Center. He first took the auto body program and now is in the machine tool technology and welding fabrication program for the second year. He has enjoyed the hands-on work in his programs that is different from regular school. Last year he obtained his American Welding Society 1G certification license through the state of Maine. He is interested in earning more welding certification this year. is instructors, Byron Condon and Darryl Nadeau said, “Anthony is a good student, hard worker that learns fast. We would recommend him to any employer,” according to the release.

Sousa had a busy fall season, as the quarterback of Cony’s football team. He is now keeping busy working at Rocky’s Stove Shop. In the fall, he hopes to pursue further education in welding.

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Maine Compass: For gun owners, suicide prevention needs to be a collaborative effort http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-compass-for-gun-owners-suicide-prevention-needs-to-be-a-collaborative-effort/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-compass-for-gun-owners-suicide-prevention-needs-to-be-a-collaborative-effort/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779832 Three days before I was scheduled to represent the Maine Gun Safety Coalition at an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention walk, I was informed that I was no longer allowed to speak. I mentioned that my remarks echoed the same messages about gun safety put forth by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s partner since 2015. It turned out that this partnership between the nation’s largest suicide prevention organization and the nation’s second-most-powerful gun lobbying group was precisely the reason why the Maine Gun Safety Coalition was disinvited.

This summer, we were thrilled when the local coordinators of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Walk in Portland invited us to speak about how the safe storage of firearms can prevent suicides. It was a pleasure working with the local coordinators leading up to the event. We agreed about the importance of educating gun owners on safe storage practices in the home to reduce gun suicides.

On Sept. 21, three days before the walk, I received an email from a volunteer for the suicide prevention nonprofit: “We just heard from our National office for the AFSP and unfortunately we will be unable to have you speak at our walk.”

Perplexed, I asked why. I was told, “The most compelling reason for not having you speak is the possibility that gun rights groups could construe AFSP as supporting gun control, background checks and other anti-gun ownership matters.”

This only added to the confusion because the Maine Gun Safety Coalition is not anti-gun ownership. Our board includes several hunters and two police chiefs who carry guns for work, and I’ve been a recreational shooter since Cub Scouts.

Despite the varying reasons for owning a gun, we all agree that being a responsible gun owner means storing guns unloaded and locked — that’s why we’ve distributed over 25,000 free trigger locks throughout Maine. Our mission is to save lives, and we believe suicide prevention must be part of every conversation about reducing gun deaths, because U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicate that 86 percent of gun deaths in Maine are the result of suicide.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation represents gun manufacturers and dealers. With headquarters located just three miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, the gun industry trade group is led by Steve Sanetti, who was president of gunmaker Sturm, Ruger & Co. for 28 years. The group spends millions annually lobbying against policies aimed at curbing gun suicides. Its website includes educational tips such as “If someone calls an AR-15-style rifle an ‘assault weapon,’ he or she either supports banning these firearms or does not understand their function and sporting use, or both. Please correct them.”

I feel compelled to speak out because I recently learned that another gun violence prevention group like the Maine Gun Safety Coalition was treated poorly by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In late October, the suicide prevention foundation denied Brady Campaign and Moms Demand Action volunteers the opportunity to distribute materials at their San Diego walk, the nonprofit investigative news organization Voice of San Diego reported. National Shooting Sports Foundation materials, however, were distributed at the event.

Prior to the National Shooting Sports Foundation and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention partnership, gun violence prevention groups routinely distributed information at the suicide prevention group’s events. With the focus on suicide, these materials typically addressed the safe storage of firearms in the home.

We are concerned that since the partnership was announced two years ago, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention staff and volunteers haven’t been able to point to any examples of gun dealers, shooting ranges or gun clubs distributing the gun industry trade group’s and the suicide prevention group’s jointly developed Firearms and Suicide Prevention materials or giving their Talk Saves Lives presentation in Maine. In fact, the volunteers I spoke to were unaware of the partnership!

The Maine Gun Safety Coalition applauds the hard-working American Foundation for Suicide Prevention staff and volunteers for their efforts to reduce firearm suicide by engaging gun dealers and firearm safety trainers to educate gun owners about risk reduction. Our organization plans to continue to have productive conversations with the suicide prevention group’s local organizers in the hope that we can treat each other with mutual respect in our shared mission to reduce gun suicides. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention does valuable work, and we hope to partner with them again in the future.

Nick Wilson is executive director of the Maine Gun Safety Coalition, based in Portland.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/maine-compass-for-gun-owners-suicide-prevention-needs-to-be-a-collaborative-effort/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/10/952703_Gun-Control-California.JP3_-e1481407714883.jpgMeasures signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday require people to turn in high-capacity magazines and mandate background checks for ammunition sales.Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:34:36 +0000
Today’s editorial cartoon http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/todays-editorial-cartoon-1456/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/todays-editorial-cartoon-1456/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779828 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/todays-editorial-cartoon-1456/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/779828_846873-11-20-Clinton-Chicke.jpgWed, 22 Nov 2017 15:12:53 +0000 View from Away: Two months after storm, Puerto Rico still far from normal http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/view-from-away-two-months-after-storm-puerto-rico-still-far-from-normal/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/view-from-away-two-months-after-storm-puerto-rico-still-far-from-normal/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=779826 It has been two months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, yet most of the island’s 3.4 million residents are still without electricity in what ranks as the largest blackout in U.S. history. No one has a clear handle on when the lights will be back on. Other problems include damaged homes, people in shelters, lack of access to clean water and, The New York Times reported, fears of a full-fledged mental health crisis.

Nonetheless, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, the Army general who led the military’s response to Maria, announced last week that troops would begin to wind down operations. He explained that the military’s mission — clearing roads, search-and-rescue work, helping restore communications, opening ports — was over. The long-term work of rebuilding was now up to the local government and federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

FEMA officials say they will be there for the long haul. That’s good to hear. Also good is the decision by the Trump administration to not just rebuild but also allow for enhancement and improvements in infrastructure projects. So, for example, a traditional power grid could be replaced with solar- or wind-power components. Getting Congress to approve the necessary resources will be key.

Puerto Rico’s governor has asked for $94.4 billion, a request that hasn’t been helped by the troubling questions that have been raised about the decision of the government power company to give a $300 million no-bid contract for energy restoration to a small startup firm based in Montana.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló canceled the contract, and the head of Puerto Rico’s electric utility has resigned, but the lingering questions, as well as doubts that have been raised about the government’s official death toll, underscore the need for Congress to not just write a check but also ensure the money will be put to its best use. If Rosselló is unable to provide that assurance, Congress should consider whether the federal oversight board put in place last year to supervise Puerto Rico’s finances should be given more authority to help speed recovery.

Editorial by The Washington Post

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/24/view-from-away-two-months-after-storm-puerto-rico-still-far-from-normal/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1282892_Puerto_Rico_Hurricane_Mar3.jpgResidents of Rio Abajo, Puerto Rico, receive a shopping cart full of necessities sent from a nearby town as recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria continued late last month.Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:15:40 +0000
Historic Owls Head General Store closes http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/23/storied-owls-head-general-store-closes/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/23/storied-owls-head-general-store-closes/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 02:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=780058 OWLS HEAD — The historic Owls Head General Store, the last remaining place to buy groceries or other convenience items in town, has closed.

“This wonderful experience would not have been possible without all of you. However, after serious thought and consideration, we are making the very difficult decision to close the business,” Sheree Craig, who owns the store with her husband, Rob Craig, said in a written statement.

“The General Store remains for sale, and our sincerest wish is that an enthusiastic buyer will come along soon to continue the journey and tradition that began so long ago. Please keep our amazing staff in your thoughts. They are like family to us, and were the heart of our business,” Sheree Craig said.

She said Wednesday that the decision was based on personal reasons. Craig also noted that it had become difficult to find enough employees to keep the store open longer hours in the summer, when businesses must make sufficient money to survive the winter months.

The store had two full-time employees and four to five part-time workers.

The Craigs bought the store in July 2012 from Tom and Martha Luttrell, who had operated it for a little more than four years.

Craig said her intent at the time was to leave her insurance and financial career and run the store in this small coastal town southeast of Rockport in Knox County.

She said she had a change of heart, however, after the purchase.

The store has been for sale for three years but there has been no serious interest, Craig said. The asking price is $274,900.

The 1,058-square-foot building was built in 1880 and has been a general store since at least the 1920s. The store is located next to the post office and is within walking distance of Owls Head Harbor and Lighthouse Road leading to the Owls Head Lighthouse.

“Even though it was a little place, it was a gathering place,” said Linda Christie, who was raised in the Owls Head village where the store is located. “It was a big part of growing up.”

She said everyone would use the store as the place to talk about community happenings.

“You could get groceries or No. 2 pencils or crayons. They packed a lot into the store,” Christie recalled.

The general store was also the go-to place for summer visitors.

The store had gasoline pumps until about the 1970s.

In more recent decades, the residence that had been part of the building was converted to more store space. There was a kitchen where menu items were offered.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/23/storied-owls-head-general-store-closes/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292406_307636-t1200-20171111_16033.jpgThe Owls Head General Store closed Nov. 6. Photo by Stephen Betts/Courier-GazetteThu, 23 Nov 2017 21:50:42 +0000
Flynn’s lawyer ends communication with Trump’s team http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/23/flynns-lawyer-ends-communication-with-trumps-team/ http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/23/flynns-lawyer-ends-communication-with-trumps-team/#respond Fri, 24 Nov 2017 01:11:33 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/23/flynns-lawyer-ends-communication-with-trumps-team/ A lawyer for former national security adviser Michael Flynn informed an attorney for President Trump this week that he can no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, a sign that Flynn may be preparing to cooperate in the probe, people familiar with the investigation said.

The call from Flynn lawyer Robert Kelner to Trump attorney John Dowd came Wednesday evening and is a potentially ominous sign for Trump and other close associates to the president. Before this week, Kelner had been strategizing with lawyers for Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr. and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, among others.

The split suggests that Flynn, who has been a top target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, may be looking to share information with the prosecutor.

Kelner did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Jay Sekulow, an attorney for Trump, said: “This is not entirely unexpected.”

“No one should draw the conclusion that this means anything about General Flynn cooperating against the president,” he said, adding “It’s important to remember that Gen. Flynn received his security clearance under the previous administration.”

In complex investigations, lawyers for subjects often enter into agreements that allow them to share information without waiving attorney-client privilege. Such agreements generally include provisions that require the lawyers to immediately end the arrangement if their clients begin discussions with prosecutors or if other developments pose a conflict of interest.

Even if Flynn has begun discussions with Mueller’s office, there is no guarantee he will ultimately reach a deal with prosecutors.

Flynn served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama before he was pushed out in 2014 amid criticism of his management style and clashes with other Obama administration officials.

He then established a private consulting firm and gave paid speeches, work that has drawn intense scrutiny from Mueller.

In December 2015, Flynn was paid by the Russian government-funded television network RT to attend a dinner in Moscow, where he was seated next to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Even as he became an adviser to Trump’s presidential campaign, his consulting firm was paid to promote the interests of the Turkish government. Flynn failed to initially report his payments from either engagement.

Flynn served 24 days as Trump’s national security adviser, but was forced to resign after acknowledging that he had secretly discussed sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during Trump’s presidential transition in December.

Lawyers for the president and senior White House aides had been quietly speculating over the last few weeks that Flynn was under increasing pressure to cooperate because Mueller had signaled his ability to charge his son alongside the father.

Michael G. Flynn, the retired general’s son, helped his father with business arrangements and served as chief of staff at his father’s consulting firm, the Flynn Intel Group.

Barry Coburn, an attorney for the younger Flynn, declined to comment.

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http://www.centralmaine.com/2017/11/23/flynns-lawyer-ends-communication-with-trumps-team/feed/ 0 http://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1292360_aptopix_trump_iran_17092_jp.jpgformer National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. Flynn said the administration is putting Iran "on notice" after it tested a ballistic missile. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Thu, 23 Nov 2017 23:40:31 +0000