Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel https://www.centralmaine.com Features news from the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine and Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine. Wed, 17 Jan 2018 03:09:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Colby women’s basketball cruises past Pine Manor https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/colby-womens-basketball-cruises-past-pine-manor/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/colby-womens-basketball-cruises-past-pine-manor/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 02:04:58 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/colby-womens-basketball-cruises-past-pine-manor/ WATERVILLE — The Colby College women’s basketball team never trailed in Tuesday’s 72-40 win over Pine Manor. With a big New England Small College Athletic Conference game coming on Saturday against rival Bowdoin, the win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Mules. While the score was lop-sided against the overmatched Gators, the game gave Colby some things to work on with tougher competition ahead.

The Mules (7-7) committed 22 turnovers, and shot just 18.8 percent from 3-point range (3 for 16). Colby did dominate inside, scoring 30 points in the paint to Pine Manor’s 10, and scored 29 points off Pine Manor’s 28 turnovers.

Colby started working the ball inside right from the opening tip, with senior center Haley Driscoll scoring the first six points of the game, all in the low post. Driscoll scored a game-high 18 points to go with 10 rebounds.

The Mules led 15-4 after one quarter and 35-19 at the half. Colby flirted with a 20-point lead for most of the first three quarters, but couldn’t push past the 20-point cushion until the final minute of the third quarter, when Driscoll sank a pair of free throws for a 50-29 lead. Colby outscored the Gators 22-9 in the fourth for the final margin of victory.

Eleven players scored for the Mules. Aimsley Burns came off the bench for 12 points, while Katie McCrum had six assists and three steals. Colby had 17 rebounds which led to 16 second chance points, and outrebounded Pine Manor, 48-28.

Shaneka Monroe led Pine Manor with 12 points.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

tlazarczyk@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/colby-womens-basketball-cruises-past-pine-manor/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795480_912949-20180116-Pine-Mano5.jpgColby College's Sarah Hancock, right, draws the foul from Pine Manor College's Kayleigh Merrell (10) on Tuesday at Colby College in Waterville.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:07:05 +0000
High school roundup: Temple girls basketball rolls past Buckfield https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/high-school-roundup-temple-girls-basketball-rolls-past-buckfield/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/high-school-roundup-temple-girls-basketball-rolls-past-buckfield/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 01:35:46 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/high-school-roundup-temple-girls-basketball-rolls-past-buckfield/ WATERVILLE — Selam Heinrich scored a game-high 11 points to lead the Temple Academy girls basketball team to a 32-17 East/West conference win over Buckfield on Tuesday.

Deleyni Carr aded seven points for the Bereans (6-6).

Buckfield (1-10) was held to just six first-half points.

BREWER 43, GARDINER 39: Rebecca Gideon scored six of her 11 points from the free throw line and the Witches held on for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win in Augusta.

Gardiner (6-5) got seven points each from Anna Toman and Aimee Adams but could not oovercome a two-point first quarter in the loss.

Emily Lord added 10 points for Brewer (6-5).

GREENVILLE 52, VALLEY 16: Halle Pelletier scored 23 points to lead Greenville to the big win at home.

Bianca Breton added seven points for Greenville (4-6).

Kendra Sweet scored seven points to lead Valley (3-7).

BOYS HOCKEY

GARDINER 6, MARANACOOK/WINTHROP/MADISON 0: Cam Bourassa scored a pair of goals as the Tigers earned their first win of the season in a game completed Tuesday at Bonnefond Ice Arena.

Gardiner (1-5-0) was leading 3-0 late in the second period when the arena lost power on Jan. 8. Sean Michaud, Jake Weston, Arthur Taylor and A.J. Chadwick also scored for Gardiner.

The Hawks fell to 0-8-0.

BOYS BASKETBALL

MADISON 55, LISBON 42: Evan Bess scored 13 points and Max Shibley had nine points and seven offensive rebounds to lead the Bulldogs to the MVC win in Madison.

Jacob Meader added 12 points for Madison (5-7).

D.J. Douglas finished with 19 points for Lisbon (6-5), including four 3-pointers.

RICHMOND 87, TELSTAR 55: Zach Small poured in a career-high 48 points to lead the Bobcats to the MVC win in Bethel.

Matt Rines added 15 points and eight rebounds for Richmond (9-2).

Jarrett Bean scored 29 for Telstar (3-8) in the loss.

KENTS HILL 56, LEE 53: Darius Hinds had 13 points, five rebounds and three blocks for the Huskies.

Tim Adetuyole and Trevor Watson scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for Kents Hill (8-5).

HALL-DALE 81, MT. ABRAM 45: Ashtyn Abbott scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Bulldogs to the MVC win in Farmingdale.

Alec Byron added 13 points for Hall-Dale (11-0) while Tyler Nadeau had 12 and Jett Boyer 11.

Mt. Abram (1-10) was led by Sam Storer and Nate Luce with 11 points apiece. Dawson Bate was also in double figures with 10.

TEMPLE 51, BUCKFIELD 43: Ilija Ivkovic scored a game-high 17 points and the Bereans got contributions from seven different players in a win in Waterville.

Nikola Kevic added 13 for Temple (5-6).

Zachary Grover scored 15 for Buckfield (4-7).

HAMPDEN 66, GARDINER 50: Ian McIntyre scored a game-high 25 points to lead the Broncos to the Class A North win at the Augusta Civic Center.

Kory Winch added 17 points for Hampden (10-1).

Connor McGuire had 17 points, five rebounds and two blocks for Gardiner (6-4) while Kyle Johnson added 12.

CARRABEC 42, MONMOUTH 41: Evan Holzworth scored 20 points to help the Cobras (4-7) stave off the Mustangs and earn the MVC win in Anson.

Alex Stafford and Dylan Willette scored eight points for Carrabec, with Willette and Holzworth hitting two 3-pointers apiece. Mike Hargraves nabbed 10 rebounds for the Cobras.

Connor Davis scored 12 points and Gabe Martin had 10 for Monmouth (3-8), which nearly rallied back from a 38-26 deficit entering the fourth quarter.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/high-school-roundup-temple-girls-basketball-rolls-past-buckfield/feed/ 0 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:11:06 +0000
Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro considering run for governor https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/waterville-mayor-nick-isgro-considering-run-for-governor/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/waterville-mayor-nick-isgro-considering-run-for-governor/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 01:16:44 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/waterville-mayor-nick-isgro-considering-run-for-governor/ WATERVILLE — Citing what he called a lack of viable candidates for governor in the next election, Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro said Tuesday night that he is officially considering a run for Maine’s top spot.

“I have surveyed the field for governor and I find it to be an incredibly low-energy campaign thus far,” said Isgro, a Republican. “I had stepped aside before, waiting for a candidate that would step forward with a bold, exciting agenda that would put Maine citizens first in Augusta; and I haven’t seen anybody step forward yet, so I’ve been forced to reconsider.”

Isgro, 36, was elected mayor in 2014, inaugurated in January 2015, served a three-year term and was re-lected last November. He said he currently is discussing a possible run for governor with his family. Isgro and his wife, Amanda, have five children.

He announced his decision to consider running for governor on Tuesday to a Morning Sentinel reporter in the hallway outside the City Council chambers, just before a council meeting was to start at 7 p.m. If he does decide to run, he would follow in the footsteps of Gov. Paul LePage, who was a Republican city councilor and mayor in Waterville before running for governor.

Like LePage, Isgro also is a fiscal conservative.

“Looking at it now, it seems someone needs to step forward that’s going to excite the grass roots, because there’s nobody out there that’s doing that,” Isgro said Tuesday night.

Later in the evening, Isgro said, “In a field of Augusta elites, career lobbyists, and DC consultants, I’ve heard little-to-no mention of the serious issues that face Mainers, especially rural Maine, like battling the opioid epidemic as we are here in Waterville and seizing opportunities to restore Maine’s future like infrastructure and technology improvements. With the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the rural Maine worker combined with a pro growth agenda we have the pieces for an historic growth opportunity.”

The assistant vice president and controller of Skowhegan Savings Bank, Isgro scrutinizes city budgets and funding requests from city departments, often urging officials to work together to reach compromise.

In November, he defeated former Councilor Erik Thomas, a Democrat, and political newcomer John Levesque, an independent. Isgro received 1,737 votes to Thomas’ 1,496 and Levesque’s 258.

It was the third consecutive mayoral election in Waterville to feature a three-way race with a Republican, a Democrat and an independent, coming at a time of high-profile million-dollar developments in downtown while the city struggled with concerns over property tax increases, adequate school funding and its identity as a burgeoning cultural and business center.

A 2000 graduate of Messalonskee High School in Oakland, Isgro attended the University of Maine at Farmington, where he studied history. He also attended Thomas College in Waterville, where he studied accounting.

He has served as a commissioner for the Maine Commission for Community Service; is a board member and financial adviser at St. Theresa’s Church, in Oakland; and is a past board member and treasurer of the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers.

While running for a second term as mayor, Isgro said he wanted to continue the work he had done in his first term with various efforts including downtown revitalization and the city’s collaboration with Colby College on that project. He also cited work the city had done with Central Maine Growth Council, which Isgro called the most important economic development organization working on behalf of the city.

Isgro has worked on downtown revitalization since its inception, when Colby President David Greene held meetings with downtown businesses, arts organizations, city officials and others to determine what was needed to help improve downtown, draw more people to live and work there and help boost the economy.

A priority identified in those meetings was the need to address vacant and deteriorating buildings downtown. Colby is investing millions of dollars in the downtown and is building a student residential complex on Main Street that is expected to house 200 students and faculty and staff members involved in a special community service and civic engagement curriculum in August 2018. Colby also bought and renovated the former Hains building at 173 Main St. and renovated it. CGI Group occupies the top floors and Colby has offices on the second floor. Retail businesses will move into the ground floor of both that building and the dormitory across the street. Colby also plans to build a boutique hotel next year on the former Levine’s clothing store site downtown.

Isgro supported efforts to build an interchange for Interstate 95 at Trafton Road and has worked with Trafton Partners on efforts to grow a future manufacturing base on Trafton Road. He also supports efforts by the technology company, CGI Group, to develop jobs in downtown Waterville.

He has cited as priorities for the city infrastructure development and job growth to help provide more opportunity for people to live and work in Waterville, expanding the tax base so the city can continue to work on having a sustainable property tax rate and ensuring the city has a growing tax base so it can continue to provide quality services that residents expect.

Isgro has supported the Waterville Police Department’s Operation Hope program, which helps place people addicted to opioids in treatment centers.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

acalder@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/waterville-mayor-nick-isgro-considering-run-for-governor/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/10/769791_932531-20171017-Nick-Isgro-.jpgMayor Nick Isgro sits for an interview with Morning Sentinel reporter Amy Calder in the Mayor's office at City Hall in Waterville on Tuesday.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:07:02 +0000
Steve Bannon subpoenaed by House panel in Russia probe https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-house-panel-in-russia-probe/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-house-panel-in-russia-probe/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:17:03 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-house-panel-in-russia-probe/ WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee subpoenaed former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon on Tuesday in a showdown over whether he could be forced to testify in the panel’s Russia investigation.

Bannon walked into a closed-door meeting with House members Tuesday morning and was still being grilled Tuesday evening. Lawmakers wanted answers from him about President Donald Trump’s thinking when he fired FBI Director James Comey.

The committee’s Republican chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, said he issued the subpoena, but he declined to discuss why or what questions he hoped to compel Bannon to answer.

A person familiar with the subpoena said the committee issued the order after Bannon’s counsel advised him he did not have to answer lawmakers’ questions regarding his discussions with Trump. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private committee deliberations.

A spokeswoman for Bannon did not respond to multiple requests for comment Tuesday afternoon. A White House official said the White House did not seek to exert executive privilege over Bannon – a move that would have barred him from answering certain questions – because they didn’t have to. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

At the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “no one” had encouraged Bannon not to be transparent during questioning but there’s a “process of what that looks like.”

“As with all congressional inquiries touching upon the White House, Congress must consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material. This is part of a judicially recognized process that goes back decades,” Sanders told reporters.

The committee also planned to press Bannon on other “executive actions” taken by Trump that have drawn interest from congressional investigators prying into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives, said another person, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record about the closed-door session and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Those key elements bear directly on the criminal investigation now underway by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is charged with investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey or by taking other actions to thwart investigators.

The focus on Bannon follows his spectacular fall from power after being quoted in a book saying that he sees the president’s son and others as engaging in “treasonous” behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

In Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of essentially betraying the nation by meeting with a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

More recently, Bannon has said he was not referring to Trump Jr. but rather to Manafort. Wolff stands by his account.

After the book’s release, Trump quickly disavowed “Sloppy Steve Bannon” and argued extensively there was no evidence of collusion between his presidential campaign and operatives tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bannon apologized a few days later but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump news site Breitbart News.

Bannon last year had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure interviews with top witnesses like Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But Bannon played a critical role in the campaign, the presidential transition and the White House – all periods of time now under scrutiny from congressional investigators looking for possible evidence of a connection between Trump’s operations and Russia.

Bannon recently retained the same lawyer being used by former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus and current White House general counsel Don McGahn. Neither Bannon nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment Monday.

The House Intelligence Committee is speeding toward a conclusion of its interviews in its Russia investigation. The final result could be marred by partisan infighting, raising the probability that Republicans on the panel will issue one set of findings and the Democrats will issue their own report.

Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-house-panel-in-russia-probe/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795455_Trump_Russia_Probe_34908.jp_.jpgFormer White House strategist Steve Bannon speaks Dec. 5, 2017, during a campaign rally for Senate hopeful Roy Moore in Fairhope Ala. The House Intelligence Committee is poised to question Bannon, the onetime confidant to President Donald Trump, following his spectacular fall from power after accusing the president's son and others of "treasonous" behavior for taking a meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign. Bannon is scheduled to testify before the panel on Tuesday, according to a person familiar with the committee's plans.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:00:30 +0000
Short stick: Messalonskee hockey faces tall task with small roster https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/short-stick-messalonskee-hockey-faces-tall-task-with-small-roster/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/short-stick-messalonskee-hockey-faces-tall-task-with-small-roster/#respond Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:10:13 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/short-stick-messalonskee-hockey-faces-tall-task-with-small-roster/ WATERVILLE — Cole Smith steps toward the offensive blue line, chips a loose puck up the wall and plays it ahead to one of his teammates in the corner. As the play continues, the defenseman stops, hunches over and rests his stick across his knees, surveying the play still developing around him.

It’s still only the first period of game at Alfond Rink, but Smith is already thinking ahead.

“I definitely try to find some rest when I can,” Smith said. “It’s finding opportunities, whether it’s talking to the referee a little bit about a call or on a face-off trying to get a deeper breath or playing more conservative so I can try and manage it.”

For the Messalonskee hockey team, this is every player in every game. With only 11 rostered players, including 10 skaters and one goaltender, each game, each practice and each week are lessons in management. The Eagles have the smallest roster in the state this winter, and its effects are many.

Eagles coach Kevin Castner found out in the fall that a number of players weren’t returning to a program that just three years ago celebrated its second consecutive Class B state championship. During his first meeting with the team prior to the season, he let them know that wins and losses were no longer going to be the focal point of the winter.

“We can’t really focus on what-ifs,” Castner said. “We set simple goals every game, and we’re just looking to come out and compete every game. If we come out like we’ve given it all and played really good hockey as far as what we can present on the ice, then we’re happy.”

Six players who were underclassmen on last year’s team did not return to the team. Some decided they no longer wanted to play hockey, some committed to a full season of non-scholastic hockey.

The Eagles typically field two full forward lines and employ three defensemen who rotate through as games progress. A 10th skater on the team, Noah Milne, is a senior who did not play hockey last year.

Junior Eli Michaud is the team’s lone goaltender.

Games aren’t the only challenge for Messalonskee, which typically competes against rosters 50-100 percent larger than its own. Practices need to be modified to account for fewer players. Full team scrimmages aren’t possible for more than a minute or two at a time at most.

“You’ve got to redraw your entire coaching plan when you have low numbers. You have to come up with ways to put kids in certain scenarios. It’s really tough, because you can’t do five-on-five drill. You’ve got to rethink what you’re trying to accomplish,” Castner said. “We’re breaking the games down into small areas and working on small-area drills, small-area pressure, defensive zone movement and things like that,”

Winning games might not be the priority, but players like Smith refuse to accept defeat as the only available option. The Eagles (2-7-0) have two wins, both over Lawrence/Skowhegan/MCI, this season.

“It’s really more or less trying to figure out that this is what we signed up for, and do we want to go out and play 45 minutes and try and win games, or do we just want to go out and be able to say, ‘Yay. We’re saving the program,'” said Smith, a senior captain. “We’ve really tried to take steps in trying to win some games. We’ve worked on conditioning so maybe we can try and win some games.”

Smith also captained the Messalonskee soccer team, a team which missed out on the playoffs after a late-season push, and sees similarities this season.

“We see ourselves on the outside looking in, but if we can get a win over a team worth big Heal points, who knows what can happen,” Smith said.

Eric Caccamo is a physician and hockey dad. His son, Salvatore, is a sophomore winger for the Eagles.

Caccamo doesn’t see any immediate health risks for players who are called on to play more minutes and take more shifts than they would on a full team, but he does believe that players need to be in shape.

“Conditioning is the biggest thing,” Caccamo said. “Sometimes kids come into the season maybe not exactly where they need to be (physically). Obviously, there are more shifts and more work on those muscles, but a big part of it is that kids are young and they can handle it. That’s my thoughts.

“I have no concerns.”

Castner couldn’t agree more about the conditioning part. He said his top priority all season has been on making sure players are in shape to skate 30-40 minutes in a 45-minute game.

“First and foremost it’s conditioning, more so now because we just don’t have the numbers so we have to have legs under us come the third period,” Castner said.

In several cases, Castner has asked his players to play positions they are unaccustomed to this season. Smith and Sean Roderigue, for example, are playing defense for the first time in their career. Caccamo is a forward, despite being a defenseman on other teams he’s played for.

“To me, I’m happy, because (Sal) gets to play more,” Eric Caccamo said. “In other situations, he might not be playing as often. It’s good for me, but other parents might have different thoughts about that.”

“I’m just trying to enjoy my senior season regardless of what the scores are,” Smith said. “I’m trying work hard every (day) and enjoy all of it. Wins are just a big plus.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

tbarrett@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/short-stick-messalonskee-hockey-faces-tall-task-with-small-roster/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795450_564466-20180103-hockey-numb.jpgStaff photo by Michael G. Seamans Small numbers have hampered the Messalonskee High School hockey program this year. The Eagles have 11 players on their roster.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:27:04 +0000
Trump administration fights court ruling delaying end of DACA https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trump-administration-fights-court-ruling-delaying-end-of-daca/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trump-administration-fights-court-ruling-delaying-end-of-daca/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:39:09 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trump-administration-fights-court-ruling-delaying-end-of-daca/ SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration on Tuesday appealed a judge’s ruling temporarily blocking its decision to end protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and announced plans to seek a U.S. Supreme Court review even before an appeals court issues a decision.

Attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice said in a court filing that they were appealing the Jan. 9 ruling by a federal judge preventing President Donald Trump from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The appeal was filed with the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a separate news release, the agency said it planned to file documents seeking a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that it defied “law and common sense” for a single federal judge to decide the DACA issue.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in his Jan. 9 ruling said lawyers in favor of DACA clearly demonstrated that the young immigrants “were likely to suffer serious, irreparable harm” without court action. The judge also said the lawyers have a strong chance of succeeding at trial.

He granted a request by California and other plaintiffs for a preliminary injunction against the administration while lawsuits challenging its DACA decision play out in court. Alsup also rejected the administration’s request to dismiss the lawsuits.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement Tuesday that he was “confident the appellate courts will see the logic and justice behind the district court’s issuance of the preliminary injunction.”

DACA has protected about 800,000 people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children or came with families who overstayed visas. The program includes hundreds of thousands of college-age students.

Sessions announced in September that DACA would be phased out, saying President Barack Obama had exceeded his authority when he implemented it in 2012.

Efforts in Congress to reach a deal to protect DACA recipients appear to have gotten more complicated in the wake of Trump’s use of a vulgarity during a meeting with lawmakers last week to discuss an immigration proposal.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trump-administration-fights-court-ruling-delaying-end-of-daca/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795427_Trump_Immigration_60860.jpg.jpgDonald TrumpTue, 16 Jan 2018 18:41:49 +0000
Trump’s overall health is ‘excellent,’ says doctor https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trumps-overall-health-is-excellent-says-doctor/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trumps-overall-health-is-excellent-says-doctor/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:30:42 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trumps-overall-health-is-excellent-says-doctor/ WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s overall health “is excellent” and he did “exceedingly well” on cognitive screening, the Navy doctor who performed Trump’s first medical checkup said Tuesday.

Ronny Jackson had issued a blanket declaration that Trump was in “excellent health” after last Friday’s exam, and promised to provide a fuller readout on Tuesday.

He reported that the 6-foot-3 president weighed in at 239 pounds — three pounds heavier than he was in September 2016, the last time Trump revealed his weight to the public.

Trump’s blood pressure was 122 over 74, and his total cholesterol was 223, which is higher than recommended.

Trump was 70 when he took office on Jan. 20, 2017, making him the oldest person ever elected to the presidency for a first term.

Trump’s heart exam was normal, with regular rhythm and no abnormal sounds, which Jackson said led him to conclude with confidence that Trump “has a very strong and a very probable possibility of making it completely through his presidency with no medical issues.” Trump has no heart disease and no family history of it.

The 71-year-old president performed “exceedingly well” on cognitive screening, which is not standard but was requested by Trump. The doctor said he had “absolutely no concerns” about Trump’s cognitive abilities. He speculated that Trump requested the exam in an attempt to beat back the narrative of the past few weeks that he is mentally unfit for office.

“He’s very sharp. He’s very articulate when he speaks to me,” Jackson said. “I’ve never known him to repeat himself when he’s around me. I found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought process.”

Trump last revealed details about his health two months before the November 2016 election.

Trump’s cholesterol reading from Friday’s exam was borderline high even though he takes a low dose of the statin drug Crestor. Jackson said he would increase that dose in an effort to get Trump’s “bad” cholesterol, or LDL level, below 120; it currently is 143.

Trump’s body mass index, or BMI, of 29.9 puts him in the category of being overweight for his height. A BMI of 30 and over is considered obese.

Jackson said he prescribed a diet lower in fat and carbohydrates, and exercise. He’d like the president to lose 10 to 15 pounds over the next year.

Despite the diet and cholesterol concerns, Jackson stressed that Trump’s “cardiac health is excellent.” He passed a battery of heart exams including a stress test that Jackson said showed an above-average exercise capacity for a man of his age, despite some calcium buildup in his arteries. He also takes a low-dose aspirin for heart health.

With such a bad dietary history, how can that be? Jackson said Trump has avoided some big heart risks — he’s never smoked and isn’t diabetic — and has no family history of heart problems.

Trump did not undergo a psychiatric exam. But in a surprise, Jackson said he did perform a cognitive screening test, at Trump’s request. Called the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, it is designed to detect early signs of memory loss and other neurologic functions – and Trump had a perfect score.

Cognitive assessments aren’t routine in standard physicals, although they recently became covered in Medicare’s annual wellness visits for seniors.

AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard and Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trumps-overall-health-is-excellent-says-doctor/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795415_Trump_Physical_69571.jpg-2.jpgWhite House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson speaks to reporters Tuesday during the daily press briefing in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, in Washington.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:34:26 +0000
Bill proposed to exempt ferries from Maine pilot fees https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/bill-proposed-to-exempt-ferries-from-maine-pilot-fees/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/bill-proposed-to-exempt-ferries-from-maine-pilot-fees/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:23:19 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/bill-proposed-to-exempt-ferries-from-maine-pilot-fees/ The Nova Scotia-to-Maine ferry could avoid paying certain fees to harbor pilots in Portland and Bar Harbor under a bill proposed by a Portland-area lawmaker.

Some large vessels, like ferries and container ships, are required to hire local captains to pilot ships safely into harbor. But under L.D. 1752, sponsored by Sen. Mark Dion, D-Portland, U.S.-flagged ferries would not have to use a pilot after taking 15 pilot-assisted trips. Foreign-flagged ferries would not need local help after completing a number of pilot-assisted trips set by oversight boards.

Prince Edward Island-based Bay Ferries, which operates The Cat, a seasonal high-speed ferry between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, would be the prime beneficiary if the bill becomes law. The company is in the middle of litigation with Portland Pilots, a trade association representing local captains, and the Portland Board of Harbor Commissioners over a minimum fee increase from $709 to $1,077 per trip approved by commissioners last year. Bay Ferries claims the process behind the rate increase was flawed and the increase is too expensive.

The bill’s passage would revive an exemption that existed for decades before 2012, allowing ferry operators to forgo local pilots, according to supporters. But opponents, including Portland Pilots Inc. and the Portland Board of Harbor Commissioners, say changing the rules will erode government oversight and create safety issues.

For almost 50 years, the ferry operated between Canada and ports in Bar Harbor and Portland under minimum pilot supervision without a problem, said Harold Pachios, who represents Bay Ferries as a partner with the Preti, Flaherty, Belliveau and Pachios law firm in Portland. The rule changed only after the ferry briefly stopped running between 2010 and 2014, when there was no one to oppose changes to pilotage requirements, he added.

“This proposed law restores the decades-long language word-for-word, except it makes it a little more stringent,” Pachios said. Bay Ferries knew the law had changed when it started The Cat service in 2016, but last year’s fee hike “just crystallized the concern,” he added.

While harbor commissioners argue the law would strip them of direct oversight, the bill actually gives them control over how many ferry trips require a pilot, Pachios said.

“Theoretically, they could pass a rule under this authority that would require a foreign ferry to take a pilot on every trip,” he said.

Opponents of the bill say allowing large ships into port without experienced local guides threatens safety and the environment.

Pilots in Portland Harbor have to have 250 trips operating in all types of weather, experience ship captains cannot replicate, said Twain Braden, an attorney with Thompson, Bowie and Hatch who represents Portland Pilots Inc. and the Penobscot Bay and River Pilots Association. Going back to looser pilot requirements would open a dangerous loophole, even though ferries were allowed to navigate Maine waters for decades with minimal assistance, he added.

“It is a recipe for disaster; it is hard to overstate,” Braden said. “For the Legislature to think because nothing happened in the past and we got lucky is totally naive.”

HEARING IN AUGUSTA

Portland Pilots’ revenues have dropped precipitously as oil tanker traffic has declined in recent years, which was the reason for the minimum fee increase, Braden said.

The Maine Pilotage Commission and Portland Board of Harbor Commissioners are both opposed to the legislation.

Tom Dobbins, chairman of the Portland board, said giving ferries an exemption would erode local oversight. The board sets training and licensing requirements for pilots and can investigate or discipline them in the event of an incident, something it would not be able to do to a foreign captain.

“If they have an accident we can pull a pilot’s license; we would not have that ability under this legislation,” Dobbins said. “A pilot licensed by the commission is a neutral witness; he doesn’t work for the ship owners.”

The Legislature’s Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing on the bill Thursday afternoon. Rep. James Gillway, R-Searsport, who sat on the committee when the ferry exemption was closed in 2012, said discussion at the time was focused on safety and security. The Costa Concordia disaster, when a cruise liner capsized off the Italian coast, killing 32 people, occurred around the time the bill was debated.

“It is that extra level of safety and security that the ports and people who live in the ports deserve,” Gillway said. “I’m not interested in going backwards.”

 

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/bill-proposed-to-exempt-ferries-from-maine-pilot-fees/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1292883_550318-20170717_ferry_0005.jpgPORTLAND, ME - JULY 17: The CAT Ferry motors toward Peaks Island on its way out of Casco Bay toward Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. (Staff photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:09:06 +0000
Gardiner officials to consider storm water evaluation report https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-officials-to-consider-storm-water-evaluation-report/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-officials-to-consider-storm-water-evaluation-report/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:21:55 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-officials-to-consider-storm-water-evaluation-report/ A presentation on the Gardiner’s storm water evaluation report is expected when the Gardiner City Council meets Wednesday.

The report was commissioned to assess parts of the city’s storm water drainage system and recommend a priority list with budget estimates for the most critical work.

The Gardiner City Council meets Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the City Council chamber at 6 Church St.

Councilors will also hear a presentation of the fiscal year 2017 annual financial report and an update on the Cobbossee Trail design.

Elected officials are also expected to consider:

• Approving a right of way request from the Maine Department of Transportation as part of the Cobbossee Trail project;

• Holding a discussion of the heating issues at the Public Works facility and City Hall complex;

• Changing the name of First Right Road to Irving’s Way and naming the public way near Cobbosseecontee Stream by the Arcade parking lot Front Street;

• Accepting a deed from the General Services Administration for the conveyance of a communications tower, buildings, equipment and property at 78 Libby Hill Road;

• Appointing Aleczander Davis-Caire to the Housing Committee, and Jeannine L’Heureux to the Parks and Recreation Committee;

• Renewing the pawn license for Gardiner Trade Pawn; and

• Granting a special event permit for the Wile-O’Neil wedding on June 30 in the park next to Johnson Hall.

Two executive sessions are scheduled. One is to consider a change to the option agreement the city has with Developers Collaborative on the former T.W. Dick property; the other is to dismiss a lien and lien charges on a Gardiner property. If the council chooses to take action on either subject, the vote will be taken in open session.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-officials-to-consider-storm-water-evaluation-report/feed/ 0 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:21:55 +0000
Gardiner Main Street director to leave after seven years on job https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-main-street-director-to-leave-after-7-years/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-main-street-director-to-leave-after-7-years/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 23:11:08 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-main-street-director-to-leave-after-7-years/ GARDINER — After nearly seven years with Gardiner Main Street, its executive director has announced he is leaving.

Sitting in his office overlooking the Kennebec River this week, Patrick Wright said over the last six months, he’s been thinking about his career and family and what his next steps might be.

“The main reason I have chosen to move on is that I need to spend more time with my family,” he said. “I look back to where my kids were seven years ago, and in seven years from now they will essentially be out of the house. I am calling this my kid-life crisis.”

Wright and his wife have a daughter, 12, and a son, 10.

Robert Abbey, president of the Gardiner Main Street board, said Tuesday that it’s a characteristic of highly effective employees and leaders to know when it’s time to seek out a new challenge.

“Whoever hires him or partners with him will be extremely fortunate,” Abbey said. “He’s a rare person in the nonprofit field.”

Abbey, who joined Gardiner Main Street not long after Wright was hired, said he thought former City Councilor Philip Hart had it right when Hart said having Wright in that position was like turning on a light in a dark room.

“He works to excellence,” Abbey said. “He exceeds all expectations.”

The sentiment is shared beyond the Gardiner Main Street board.

“Patrick is one of the finest people I have ever worked with in my life, and I am going to miss him,” Gardiner Mayor Thom Harnett said Tuesday. “He’s incredibly skilled. He helped put Gardiner in a spot where few people imagined we would be.”

Wright said when he started at Gardiner Main Street, he made a commitment to stay for five years; and when he reached that point two years ago, he reminded his board of that.

“I have been transparent with my board, and we have talked about succession plans and what that might look like,” he said.

In this case, it looks like Wright plans to stay through May.

The job posting for the organization’s next executive director has been posted and will be open through February. Interviews will take place in March. An offer is likely to be extended in April, and he would spend May bringing his replacement up to speed.

Wright, who is also the city’s economic development coordinator, also is giving up that post. Between now and then, he said, he is willing to continue in a transition process to be available to wrap up the projects he’s working on, including the redevelopment of the former T.W. Dick property on Summer Street, and the Cobbossee Trail project.

Before starting at Gardiner Main Street in 2011, Wright was a business development specialist for the Midcoast Economic Development District and the planning and development director for the town of Waldoboro. Before that, he taught at Hyde School in Bath.

When he arrived in the city, Gardiner Main Street had a credibility problem. He was the fourth director to be hired in four years.

Wright said he wanted bring stability to the organization and build confidence in the Main Street program, which is designed to foster the economic and cultural vitality of downtown Gardiner.

Over time, Gardiner Main Street was able to take a more intentional approach to fundraising, have greater success with its events, attract more volunteers and develop a strong board to guide the organization.

“We built a volunteer network, built engagement and built a community-based organization,” he said. “That’s why it will be strong.”

When he started, many of his goals revolved around how many vacancies were in downtown Gardiner and how many businesses could be recruited. He said he came to learn that those are external factors that can’t be controlled.

“What I am most proud of is what we have been able to accomplish with the factors we can control. We have put Gardiner in a unique position to thrive,” he said.

“The biggest difference in Gardiner from when I started is its own belief in itself. I see the community taking ownership for its future. For a long time, this community has been backward-looking, believing that our best days were behind us,” he said. “There’s a different attitude here now. Instead of looking at what’s lacking, we’re now celebrating what we have, and considering how to enhance our assets.”

Wright is not letting go entirely; he plans to continue his role with Johnson Hall as the historic opera house continues to raise money to renovate its upper floors, and he has committed himself to serve as the chairman of the building committee that will oversee the redevelopment of the five buildings Gardiner Main Street acquired from Camden National Bank in 2016.

Abbey said that shift will help in recruitment efforts to fill the upcoming vacancy. Board members are networking and talking about the position wherever they feel it will do the most good.

The new candidate won’t be tasked with being the city’s economic development coordinator. Harnett said that might change what city elected officials are looking for now that the search for a new city manager has started again.

While some people will be saddened that Wright is leaving, and they might be nervous and a little frightened, Gardiner Main Street has a stable and strong base that will allow someone to come in and succeed in a different way, he said.

“We think Gardiner has turned that corner, and someone will be able to recognize that and want to work here,” Harnett said.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

jlowell@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

 

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-main-street-director-to-leave-after-7-years/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795402_350559-20180115_Patrick_Wri.jpgPatrick Wright discusses his resignation as Gardiner's economic development officer from his office overlooking the Kennebec River in Gardiner.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:40:58 +0000
North Carolina man held without bail in Maine shooting death https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/north-carolina-man-held-without-bail-in-maine-shooting-death/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:54:17 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/north-carolina-man-held-without-bail-in-maine-shooting-death/ MILLINOCKET – A North Carolina man charged in connection with a fatal home invasion in Millinocket has made his first appearance in court. Thirty-eight-year-old Christopher Murray, of Maxton, North Carolina, was ordered held without bail by a judge on Tuesday.

Murray and another man are charged in the death of 59-year-old Wayne Lapierre.

Lapierre and his wife, 33-year-old Diem Lapierre, were both shot during the home invasion on Dec. 19. He was buried on Saturday; his wife is recovering from her injuries.

A second man, Tony Locklear, is still being sought in connection with the homicide. Police say he’s believed to be in North Carolina.

]]>
https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/12/Christopher-Murray-1.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 18:14:19 +0000
Legalization panel makes concession, votes to delay social cannabis clubs until 2023 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/committees-straw-vote-delays-maine-pot-social-clubs-to-2023/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/committees-straw-vote-delays-maine-pot-social-clubs-to-2023/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:50:39 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/committees-straw-vote-delays-maine-pot-social-clubs-to-2023/ In their first major concession to Gov. Paul LePage, lawmakers crafting rules for Maine’s legal adult-use cannabis industry agreed Tuesday to ban social clubs until 2023.

The Legislature’s Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee voted 5-1 to delay social club licensing for five years in hopes of pacifying those who last year voted against a bill that would have launched the state’s recreational market. Committee members said they didn’t want Maine to lead the way on social clubs, and would prefer to learn from the experience of other states before implementing their own rules.

“Other states have wanted to do it, but they still haven’t,” said Sen. Joyce Maker, R-Calais. “We need to get (the bill) passed, then we need to find out what the problems with social clubs might be. (An extension) will give us time to know what we’re doing. I feel that it is imperative that we do the right thing, and we don’t know enough to do the right thing now. This way, we’d have the bill done, our rules made, and then if we want to go ahead with social clubs, we can.”

A final vote on the legislation is not expected until February, at the earliest.

The committee’s first bill would have begun the licensing of commercial cultivation, manufacturing and sales in 2018, but pushed the beginning of social club licensing off until June 2019. That bill passed both houses of the Legislature but was vetoed by LePage, who worried that a state recreational market would violate federal law, lead to an increase in impaired driving, not generate enough revenue to pay for itself and send the wrong message to young people.

Although the governor didn’t mention social clubs, committee leaders believe social club licensing figured into LePage’s concerns about impaired driving. After all, those who consume marijuana in a social club eventually have to leave, critics say. They say some lawmakers who voted against last year’s bill – it fell 17 votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto – were hesitant about Maine becoming the first state in the nation to legalize social clubs.

“I think we really need them – ultimately, people need a place to go – but if this is a part of moving this bill forward, I’m in agreement,” said Rep. Lydia Blume, D-York.

WATCHING OTHER STATES

With a delay, Maine lawmakers will be able to learn from the experience of Massachusetts, the first state to create a policy allowing for public marijuana use, and cities in Colorado, Nevada and California, where local municipalities can approve social clubs because state laws do not expressly forbid them or license them. In Massachusetts, where recreational sales are set to begin in July, the state cannabis commission in December approved a marijuana café policy.

Denver voters approved an ordinance allowing customers to use marijuana in permitted cafés and restaurants in 2016, with smoking allowed outside in designated areas and smokeless consumption allowed indoors. But demanding conditions, including a ban on the sale of alcohol in these permitted marijuana clubs, and zoning restrictions that prohibit them within 1,000 feet of schools, recovery centers or day care facilities, meant it took a full year before someone applied for the first public-use license.

That first application – filed by a businesswoman who wants to open a marijuana café right next door to her recreational dispensary – is still pending.

Maine social club supporters lamented the committee’s concession Tuesday. They argue that Maine voters approved social clubs at referendum in 2016 and lawmakers should respect that rather than try to repeatedly delay them. Many complained last year when the committee voted to single out social clubs for a different time line than other parts of the Marijuana Legalization Act, and then again when it voted to restrict social club marijuana use to smokeless consumption only.

Social clubs are to marijuana what bars are to alcohol, advocates argued. If one is permitted, taxed and regulated, the other should be, too.

They noted the committee decision was made by just six out of the 17 members, and hope that the full committee will reconsider the decision before a final vote on the legislation. Many committee members have other committee assignments that demand their attention on Tuesdays, forcing some to attend, leave and rejoin Tuesday workshop sessions, a committee clerk said.

“If the committee’s straw vote remains, Maine adults will have to wait at least five years before their decision to allow limited social consumption of marijuana is finally implemented,” said David Boyer, director of the Maine chapter of the Marijuana Policy Project. “This decision encourages tourists and otherwise law-abiding adults to break the law and consume marijuana in public. Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, adults will be trusted enough to consume marijuana socially as soon as this summer.”

‘EASIER TO SELL IN MY CAUCUS’

Other legalization supporters say that delaying social club licensing is “one part of a many-part process to get to ‘yes,’ ” said Paul McCarrier, president of Legalize Maine, the marijuana advocacy group that wrote the Marijuana Legalization Act citizen initiative approved by voters at referendum. Rep. Don Marean, R-Hollis, said the 2023 delay “will make this much easier to sell in my caucus” – the House Republican faction that upheld LePage’s veto last fall.

“This moratorium will give us breathing room,” Marean said. “This sends a strong message that we, too, are concerned about social clubs and we want to give the industry plenty of time to get their feet on the ground.”

Social club opponents, including some of Maine’s leading anti-legalization advocates, cheered the committee decision.

“What this will do is keep Maine’s roads safer,” said Scott Gagnon, an addiction prevention specialist and director of the Maine chapter of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. “It is unwise to encourage people to drive to premises to consume marijuana until we have reliable, science-based technology or protocols to test impairment.”

Penelope Overton can be contacted at 791-6463 or at:

poverton@pressherald.com

Twitter: PLOvertonPPH

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/committees-straw-vote-delays-maine-pot-social-clubs-to-2023/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/09/1260560_411530-PotClubs.jpgDenver recently adopted a pot social club pilot program and invited applications, but so far no one has applied. Would-be operators say the rules are too restrictive.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:30:01 +0000
Maine joins one of many lawsuits filed to maintain internet access https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-joins-multiple-lawsuits-filed-to-maintain-internet-access/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-joins-multiple-lawsuits-filed-to-maintain-internet-access/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:45:01 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-joins-multiple-lawsuits-filed-to-maintain-internet-access/ NEW YORK – The expected wave of litigation against the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net-neutrality rules has begun.

A group of attorneys general for 21 states, including Maine, as well as the District of Columbia sued Tuesday to block the rules. So did Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, and New America’s Open Technology Institute. Other public-interest groups are expected to file suit as well, and the tech-industry lobbying group has said it will support litigation.

The rules barred companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s push to undo them inspired both street and online protests in defense of the Obama-era rules.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the suit, said Tuesday that the end of the net neutrality rules would hurt consumers and businesses.

FCC spokesman Brian Hart declined to comment on the litigation.

The lawsuits are part of a multi-pronged approach against the net-neutrality repeal. There are efforts by Democrats to undo the repeal in Congress. State lawmakers have also introduced bills to protect net neutrality in their own states. However, the FCC’s order bars state laws from contradicting the federal government’s approach.

The other attorneys general participating in the lawsuit are from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Virginia and Washington.

The parties may have to file suit again after the FCC’s order is published in the Federal Register. That hasn’t happened yet. The different suits may also be consolidated.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-joins-multiple-lawsuits-filed-to-maintain-internet-access/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1317492_Net_Neutrality_Lawsuit_642.jpgFederal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's push to undo net neutrality rules inspired both street and online protests in defense of the Obama-era guidelines that barred telecommunication companies from interfering with internet traffic and favoring their own sites and apps.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:34:58 +0000
Major investor in Verso sells off significant lot of shares https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/major-investor-in-verso-sells-off-significant-lot-of-shares/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/major-investor-in-verso-sells-off-significant-lot-of-shares/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:37:43 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/major-investor-in-verso-sells-off-significant-lot-of-shares/ A major investor in Verso, owner of the paper mill in Jay, sold off more than $18 million worth of shares in the first two weeks of January, just months after expressing frustration with returns on the investment.

On the heels of those transactions, Verso Corp. announced Tuesday, days after the major investor sold off more shares, its Strategic Alternatives Committee may look into selling the entire company outright. This announcement, which came Tuesday in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, comes months after the company formed the committee to look at what it called transaction alternatives, including potentially selling individual mills.

According to an earlier filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Mudrick Capital Management, L.P., a major shareholder of the Verso mill, made four transactions from Jan. 3 to Jan. 12. At the time of the sales, the price of a share had risen to nearly $17 a share, up from a low of just over $3 a share.

In the most recent sale, Mudrick sold 50,000 shares at an average price of $16.43 for a total value of $821,500. On Jan. 10, Mudrick sold 125,000 shares at an average of $16.91 for a total value of $2,113,750. On Jan. 5, Mudrick sold 798,849 shares at an average of $16.74 for a total value of $13,372,732. On Jan. 3, Mudrick sold 312,746 shares at an average of $16.63 for a total value of $5,200,966.

Mudrick previously had owned 15.3 percent of Verso’s stock, or 5,218,411 shares. Because Verso is a public company and Mudrick owns more than 5 percent of the company’s stock, Mudrick is required to report purchases of additional Verso stock to the SEC.

Several other investors recently have bought and sold shares of the company. Voya Investment Management LLC acquired shares of Verso worth $104,000. Wells Fargo & Company MN acquired shares valued at roughly $130,000. Rhumbline Advisers acquired shares valued at around $166,000. Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc. acquired shares valued at approximately $275,000. California State Teachers Retirement System acquired shares valued at about $280,000. Institutional investors own just over 53 percent of the company’s stock.

A handful of analysts have issued reports on the company recently. ValuEngine upgraded Verso from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating on Dec. 31 in a research report. B. Riley boosted its target price on Verso from $11.25 to $20 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a Dec. 20 research report. Zacks Investment Research lowered Verso from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a Nov. 23 research report. And BWS Financial boosted its target price on Verso from $15 to $20 and gave the stock a “strong-buy” rating in a Nov. 17 research report.

Verso did not have a comment on Mudrick’s sale of stock. Mudrick did not respond to a request for a comment.

Lloyd Irland, a consultant and longtime observer of the Maine forest industry, said that without knowing all the details, it was difficult to interpret what, if anything, Mudrick’s sale means. He said it could be a totally neutral move and might not indicate anything about the future of the mill.

Shares of Verso stock closed at $17 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Androscoggin Mill, owned by Verso Corp., has faced difficulty in recent months. Earlier this summer, the mill shut down its No. 3 paper machine permanently, resulting in the layoff of about 120 workers, though many of those workers either had found new employment or had entered into training programs before the machine was switched off.

Mudrick Capital is a New York City-based investment firm managed by Jason Mudrick. According to its website, Mudrick Capital Management, L.P., is an investment firm that specializes in long- and short-term investments in distressed credit. It was founded in 2009 with $5 million under management. As of September, it had grown to manage about $1.6 billion.

According to an SEC filing in 2017 jointly made by eight separate entities managed by Mudrick, they were frustrated with the returns on their investment.

“The Reporting Persons are deeply frustrated with the Board’s inaction to address the Issuer’s rapidly deteriorating financial position,” the filing reads. “The Reporting Persons have expressed these frustrations to the Board and intend to continue its dialogue with the Board to help enact a strategic plan that will return value to stockholders, including a potential sale of the Stevens Point and Androscoggin mills. If the Board does not engage with the Reporting Persons in good faith, the Reporting Persons intend to pursue all other avenues to protect its investment.”

Days after Mudrick’s frustration filing in 2017, Verso announced it was forming a committee to explore what it called transaction alternatives, including the potential sale of some mills. The announcement, which came in an SEC filing, said the company had formed a Strategic Alternatives Committee, which will continue “efforts to identify and evaluate a range of potential strategic transaction alternatives, including the possible sale of some Verso mills, engage in discussions and oversee the due diligence process with parties potentially interested in transactions with the company, and recommend to the board whether any proposed transaction is in the best interests of the company and its stockholders.”

In a conference call this past summer, CEO Chris DiSantis said, “Androscoggin Mill is being evaluated for additional capital investment for expanded product line offerings and to enhance cogeneration capabilities.”

In that call, Verso managers said they hired a consultant to look at each of the company’s seven mills and the company as a whole to determine how to wring the best value out of them for shareholders. That consultant, global investment bank Houlihan Lokey, is the top mergers and acquisitions adviser in the country, according to Thomson Reuters. The Androscoggin Mill was singled out as an example of how converting to a new product line and reducing excess capacity positions the company to increase revenue.

The mill’s No. 5 machine was operating at 78 percent capacity and growing, according to the second-quarter report. Once it achieved full capacity, it was expected it could contribute $10 million in revenue.

In an earlier filing with the SEC, the company said severance and benefits payouts related to the shutdown of the No. 3 machine would amount to about $4 million, plus another $1 million in writing off spare parts and inventory produced from the No. 3 paper machine in 2016.

The mill is one of many across the state that were falling onto hard times. Closures and layoffs have plagued the state’s paper industry in recent years. Five mills have closed in the last few years, including Verso’s Bucksport mill in 2014, with more than 500 jobs lost. The Madison Paper mill closed in May 2016, which put more than 200 people out of work. More than 2,300 mill workers in Maine have lost their jobs since 2011.

The Androscoggin Mill laid off 300 employees in 2015 as part of a plan to reduce production capacity. Verso then emerged from bankruptcy in the summer of 2016 with about 560 employees. In November 2016, the company said it expected to lay off around 190 workers.

The most recent layoffs left the Androscoggin Mill with about 400 employees. Of the 120 employees who were laid off, about 20 were rehired for new positions at the mill. The mill’s employees are not unionized.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

cellis@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @colinoellis

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/major-investor-in-verso-sells-off-significant-lot-of-shares/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2016/01/472049_458081_jay_51.jpgVerso Corp., owner of the Androscoggin Mill in Jay, seen in this file photo, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection after it missed the grace period on two late loan payments. The mill laid off 300 workers over the past few months.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:21:32 +0000
Police seek hit-and-run driver in Buxton https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/police-seek-hit-and-run-driver-in-buxton/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/police-seek-hit-and-run-driver-in-buxton/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:32:51 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/police-seek-hit-and-run-driver-in-buxton/ Buxton police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the hit-and-run driver of a pickup truck that struck a pedestrian Friday night on River Road, which is Route 112.

Police Chief Troy A. Cline said in a statement Tuesday that the victim was a 17-year-old girl from Waterboro.

She suffered “serious injuries” that required her to be transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland on Friday, Cline said.

Cline provided an update in an email Tuesday, saying the “girl is back home with her parents and there is no chance she will pass away from her injuries.”

Cline said he will not be releasing the girl’s name because of her age. He said he believes the girl is a student at Massabesic High School. Waterboro is one of six towns in RSU 57.

According to Cline, the girl was crossing River Road, in the area of Christian Row, around 7:30 p.m. when she heard the pickup truck accelerate.

The teenager, who had the flashlight function of her cellphone on at the time, was almost across the road when she was struck. She had just left All That Dance, a dance studio on Route 112.

Cline said the vehicle was described as a dark-colored pickup truck that was traveling south on River Road toward Saco. The vehicle may have sustained damage to the passenger side and should be missing the passenger-side mirror.

Anyone with information about the pickup or its operator is urged to contact the Buxton Police Department at 929-5151 or 929-6612.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/police-seek-hit-and-run-driver-in-buxton/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/cop-clip-41.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 18:03:08 +0000
Gardiner man accused of threatening to shoot three people https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-man-accused-of-threatening-to-shoot-3-people/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-man-accused-of-threatening-to-shoot-3-people/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:21:33 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-man-accused-of-threatening-to-shoot-3-people/ AUGUSTA — A Gardiner man is accused of threatening to shoot people during an incident Saturday night in a Gardiner apartment.

Edwin Lazarus Lawrence, 25, made an initial appearance Tuesday at the Capital Judicial Center via video from the Kennebec County jail. He is charged with burglary, criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and violation of condition of release. He was ordered held in lieu of $35,000 cash bail.

“The bottom line is, he entered a residence and held several people in the residence — not allowing them to leave — with a firearm, ” said Detective Sgt. Todd Pilsbury, of the Gardiner Police Department, in an interview on Tuesday. “One of the people in the residence was able to get a message to another person as to what was going on. That person called the police.”

According to Pilsbury, Lawrence’s gun was not real, but “a very good replica” that police recovered.

Lawrence knew the people in the home, Pilsbury said, adding that Lawrence was cooperative when police arrived at the scene.

Lawrence threatened to shoot a woman, a man, and a girl at the residence, according to an affidavit by Gardiner police Officer Samuel Quintana that is filed at the court. “The threats were made by Lawrence in an effort to obtain information as to the whereabouts of his drugs,” Quintana wrote.

Another man found at the home, Jesse Knox, told police he hid after an altercation with Lawrence during which Lawrence threated him as well. Knox, 27, also of Gardiner, was arrested on a warrant.

Lawrence was indicted in May 2017 on six charges of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs as well as a charge of refusing to submit to arrest or detention, and the state is seeking forfeiture of $688 cash seized from Lawrence on March 7, 2017, in Augusta.

That indictment lists an address for Lawrence in Manhattan, New York.

Lawrence told police on Saturday that he was involved in a Maine Pretrial Services contract on other charges.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardiner-man-accused-of-threatening-to-shoot-3-people/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795390_377701-lawrence.jpgEDWIN LAWRENCETue, 16 Jan 2018 17:43:37 +0000
Customers complain after fuel from Mobil station apparently damages vehicles https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/customers-file-complaints-after-fuel-from-mobil-station-damages-vehicles/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/customers-file-complaints-after-fuel-from-mobil-station-damages-vehicles/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 22:15:11 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/customers-file-complaints-after-fuel-from-mobil-station-damages-vehicles/ WATERVILLE — Several customers whose vehicles were damaged after filling up their tanks at a Mobil station on Pleasant Street with the wrong type of fuel have filed complaints with the station’s owner and now are wondering how, and whether, they will be reimbursed for the fuel and repairs.

The vehicle owners all went to the Mobil gas station connected with the On the Run convenience store for a fill-up last week and expected to get the fuel that they selected at the pump, but instead, some customers incorrectly ended up with diesel and others with gasoline in their tanks. The results varied from simply needing to drain the fuel from the tank to amassing over $700 in repair work and new parts.

The franchisee and owner of the station, who would not give his name, said that he learned of the problem with the fuel last Thursday and has received at least six customer complaints. He said they were still working to figure out what happened, but that representatives from Mobil have taken samples of the fuel and are investigating the problem. For now, the owner is providing paperwork to customers to fill out so that Mobil can compensate them once the problem has been identified. He declined to answer further questions about who supplies the station’s gasoline, citing legal reasons.

In the meantime, signs have been placed over the super and mid-grade octane gasoline labels that instruct customers that the station has only regular 87 octane gasoline available. Bags also were placed over the nozzles at the diesel pumps.

Mike Cote said he repaired one of the affected vehicles Friday at the service department at Thompson’s Volkswagen in Waterville, where he works. He said that if the wrong type of fuel is put into a vehicle, the fuel doesn’t cool properly and can ruin components in the engine. In Cote’s customer’s vehicle, diesel was pumped into a tank that takes regular gasoline, which forced them to flush out the fuel from the vehicle and its fuel lines.

Diesel also was pumped into Kevin Strickland’s 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer, and the damage from the diesel already had exceeded $700 in parts and repair work before he realized that the problem was related to the fuel from Mobil. He initially noticed a problem with his vehicle at 6 a.m. Thursday when he and his family tried to start up the vehicle to head to Boston. The engine ran for a few minutes and then stopped. He had it towed to M&M Auto Repair in Winslow, where the mechanics hooked his vehicle up to testers that indicated that the throttle body and secondary air pump needed to be replaced. The bill he received totaled $735 in parts and labor.

However, when Strickland tried to start his vehicle again Monday, the engine started to smoke and he thought he smelled diesel fuel.

When Strickland smelled the fuel, he said he started to put things together.

“All of a sudden we have an issue with our car, and I went to gas our other car up on the next day, I think Friday, and there was a piece of white paper that says ‘we have only regular.’ No super, no mid-grade, and I think no diesel,” he said. “So that would tell you, something is not right here. I started thinking, I wonder if they mixed (the fuels) up?”

Strickland said his theory became more probable when he talked to Tom Hachey, the owner of Arbo’s Towing and Repair in Waterville. Arbo’s towed the TrailBlazer back to the shop on Friday, at which time Hachey told Strickland that two of the tow trucks at Arbo’s experienced the same problem after filling up on diesel at the Mobil station.

Hachey confirmed his truck troubles Tuesday in an interview with the Morning Sentinel. Hachey said he had to drain diesel from two of his tow trucks after filling up at the Mobil on Friday. He said he had to replace the fuel filter on one truck, which cost $60, and lost about 60 gallons of diesel altogether. Hachey said he thinks that whoever supplies the fuel to the station made a mistake and dropped a pocket of gasoline into the diesel container and diesel into the gas container.

Hachey said he placed a call with the store owner and is waiting to hear about what recourse will be available to him.

Strickland also contacted the owner and explained what he was experiencing, and the owner told him he could come by the station and fill out a few forms. Strickland said he sympathized with the person who made the fuel error and understood it was probably just a mistake.

“It’s confusing as to how it happened,” he said. “I pity the poor guy that did it.”

Nevertheless, Strickland’s vehicle is still in the shop, and he fears that he could end up paying thousands to fix the damage caused by the diesel fuel.

“You know, to come up with $700 in a moment’s notice wasn’t easy, and now it could be that or doubled, depending on what the mechanic has to do. Now the important thing is are they going to do right by us? I would expect that since they (Mobil) did it, they should stand by their products,” he said. “It was a mess-up with their products, so they’ve got to pay for the consequences.”

John Bott, the communicatons director for the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, said his office has not received any complaints about the fuel mishap yet. For customers experiencing problems after filling up at the Mobil station, Bott said the department’s division of quality assurance and regulations would be the best place to file a complaint. He said the department then probably would send out an inspector to investigate the problem.

Emily Higginbotham — 861-9239

ehigginbotham@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @EmilyHigg

 

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/customers-file-complaints-after-fuel-from-mobil-station-damages-vehicles/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795383_937658-20180116-gas-2.jpgJohn Craig fills his vehicle with regular 87 octane gas Tuesday at the Mobil Mart in Waterville. A small sign on the pump tells customers that only regular gas is available after diesel and higher octane fuels apparently became mixed recently.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:43:41 +0000
Former Maine man admits filing false claim for income tax refund https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/former-maine-man-admits-filing-false-claim-for-income-tax-refund/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/former-maine-man-admits-filing-false-claim-for-income-tax-refund/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:59:20 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/former-maine-man-admits-filing-false-claim-for-income-tax-refund/ A former Maine man pleaded guilty Tuesday to filing a false claim for a federal income tax refund of $31,615.

Robert E. DeAngelis, 38, now of Newington, New Hampshire, entered the plea in U.S. District Court in Portland.

He and his wife lived in North Berwick in 2014, when he filed the false claim for a refund, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

DeAngelis faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, along with full restitution of the refund, when he is sentenced at a later date.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/former-maine-man-admits-filing-false-claim-for-income-tax-refund/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/09/1135897_Tax_Refund_Delays_53288.j2.jpgRefund delays – likely until the end of February – will affect families claiming the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit, which benefit the working poor.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:10:53 +0000
Republicans fight to avert shutdown amid immigration blowup https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/republicans-fight-to-avert-shutdown-amid-immigration-blowup/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/republicans-fight-to-avert-shutdown-amid-immigration-blowup/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:46:44 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/republicans-fight-to-avert-shutdown-amid-immigration-blowup/ Republican congressional leaders are struggling to separate the immigration blow-up set off by President Trump from a funding bill to avert a U.S. government shutdown at the end of this week.

Democrats say the burden is on Trump to help break the stalemate after he rejected a bipartisan proposal to shield young, undocumented immigrants from deportation and ignited outrage by reportedly disparaging Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.” Democrats want to attach such an immigration measure to the must-pass spending bill, an idea House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., reject.

“No, we’re not going to do that,” Ryan said Friday during an event in his home state of Wisconsin. “People are attaching these as far as leverage is concerned,” but Republican leaders won’t go along, he said.

Government funding runs out at the end of the day Friday, and Republican leaders are weighing another short-term measure that would extend it until Feb. 16, a person familiar with the negotiations said.

On Tuesday, Trump blamed Democrats in Twitter postings. “The Democrats want to shut down the Government over Amnesty for all and Border Security,” he wrote. In another tweet, he said, “We must have Security at our VERY DANGEROUS SOUTHERN BORDER, and we must have a great WALL to help protect us, and to help stop the massive inflow of drugs pouring into our country!”

Both parties have struggled for months to agree on a spending deal for the rest of the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, and Congress already has had to pass three short-term funding bills. Democrats want to use the next attempt to keep government operations funded as a vehicle for other bills to provide disaster-relief funds, shore up Obamacare, extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. A dispute over how much to allocate to defense and domestic programs also has been an obstacle to a broader fiscal agreement.

Republican leaders don’t expect to have enough time to write a fiscal year spending bill even if they get a breakthrough in negotiations this week, according to the person, who asked for anonymity because the talks are private.

Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., will have to decide whether this is the moment to force a showdown on immigration that results in a partial government shutdown in an election year.

Republicans’ slim 51-49 Senate majority means they need at least nine Democratic votes to pass a spending bill. Republicans are counting on support from some Democrats, including from among the 10 who are up for election in November in states won by Trump.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who is on the ballot in November and who voted with Republicans to help keep the government operating with a stop-gap measure in December, said he has little desire to see a shutdown. He said he remains confident that some kind of deal on immigration can be worked out before it comes to that.

“Shame on any of us if we sit here and say, OK, we’re going to let it run out for the sake of politics and shut the government down,” Manchin said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “None of us even should be representing the good states that we represent, such as West Virginia and Colorado and Arkansas, if we allow that to happen.”

Republicans have a wider majority in the House – they hold 239 seats in the chamber and 218 are needed to pass a bill. But even there, Republican leaders are working with a thin margin.

Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., who faces a competitive re-election this fall in a district that is heavily Latino, said he won’t vote to extend government spending authority if there isn’t an indication that an immigration deal is near.

“If we don’t have any measurable progress towards a DACA deal I am not going to vote for a stopgap measure, and I’m asking Republicans and Democrats to take that position,” Curbelo said Monday on CNN, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump is ending. “We are in Congress and, regrettably, Congress is an institution that only acts when it’s forced to.”

Meanwhile, some House conservatives, including those in the Freedom Caucus, are threatening to withhold their votes on a stopgap spending bill, known as a continuing resolution, to protest rising spending levels or to force an increase for defense.

“If it’s just a yes or a no on a CR, I would be a no,” said Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Ohio, a Freedom Caucus member. But he said he doubts there will ultimately be a shutdown.

“I don’t know anyone who truly wants the government to shut down,” Davidson said on a conference call with reporters.

Trump has pre-emptively sought to lay the blame on Democrats if there’s no agreement on funding and the government is forced to shutdown over the immigration standoff.

“Honestly, I don’t think the Democrats want to make a deal,” Trump told reporters Sunday at his golf club in Florida, where he was spending the weekend. “I think you have a lot of sticking points, but they’re all Democrat sticking points.”

The immigration talks were set back Thursday when Trump sided with Republican immigration hardliners and rejected a plan negotiated among a small group of Democratic and Republican senators. The proposal, presented by Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., during an Oval Office meeting with a group of lawmakers, combined border security and immigration-law changes – sought mainly by Republicans – with a measure to permanently shield an estimated 800,000 undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children from deportation.

The furor over the president’s reported remarks about why the U.S. accepts immigrants from “shithole countries” like Haiti, El Salvador and African nationsrather than places like Norway, has hardened positions on both sides. Trump has denied using those exact words, which were confirmed by three people briefed on the exchange.

On Twitter Monday, Trump belittled Durbin, who said the president used “hate-filled, vile and racist” language about immigrants during the Oval Office meeting.

“Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting,” Trump tweeted. “Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders on Tuesday defended Trump against accusations of racism, calling them “outrageous” and citing his success as a public figure and star turn on television as a host on NBC’s reality show “The Apprentice.”

“Frankly, if the critics of the president were who he said he was, why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV,” Sanders said. “Why did they want to be with him for years and years in various activities whether it was events, fundraisers and other things?”

Durbin and Graham are seeking more sponsors for their compromise plan in an attempt to force a vote. When Congress returns Tuesday there will be additional meetings on an immigration measure among a group that includes the No. 2 Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate.

With assistance from Anna Edgerton and Jack Fitzpatrick

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/republicans-fight-to-avert-shutdown-amid-immigration-blowup/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1317433_Congress_Budget_Battle_News.jpgThe federal government is financed through Friday, and another temporary spending bill is needed to prevent a partial government shutdown after that.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:00:55 +0000
Augusta may look to nix 10-year charter review requirement https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-may-look-to-nix-10-year-charter-review-requirement/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-may-look-to-nix-10-year-charter-review-requirement/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:16:53 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-may-look-to-nix-10-year-charter-review-requirement/ AUGUSTA — With the clock ticking on a city charter requirement to establish a charter commission at least every 10 years to review the city’s prime guiding document, city officials are considering ways to speed up the charter review process, including potentially removing that review requirement.

Stephen Langsdorf, city attorney, suggested recently that councilors consider asking if voters would agree to remove the requirement the charter be reviewed by a commission every 10 years, making that optional instead of mandatory. He and some councilors said the charter has been refined over the years and doesn’t need major revisions or an in-depth, potentially expensive and time-consuming review process.

They noted there probably isn’t enough time to elect a charter commission and have the charter review complete before the end of the year. Minor changes might be made to the charter by a quicker, cheaper, amendment process.

“I think it’s a healthy exercise to take a look at your charter and make sure you’re governing yourself the way you want to,” said At-Large Councilor Mark O’Brien, who served as chairman of the city’s last charter review commission. “We’ve had multiple looks at it, and each iteration we’ve fine-tuned more and more. Personally I think it’s a pretty well-working document. I don’t think there is a real need, apart from the charter requirement, to have a charter commission. I’d feel comfortable making whatever changes we want to propose by amendments and try to get them on the ballot in November when we’d have the requisite turnout.”

The last charter commission formed in 2007, and voters approved charter revisions the group recommended in November 2008.

Langsdorf said the city wouldn’t be in violation of the charter’s 10-year commission review requirement if voters remove that requirement before the end of this year. If a majority of voters reject that change, then the city still could form a charter review commission, though the commission probably wouldn’t have time to complete its work this year.

The process is complicated by state law, which makes any changes to a municipality’s charter subject to approval by voters in a referendum in which at least 30 percent of the number of voters in the last gubernatorial election turn out to vote.

Langsdorf and City Clerk Roberta Fogg said a turnout that high isn’t likely to occur in an election year without a gubernatorial or presidential election drawing people out to vote, but it would be this year, for a Maine gubernatorial election, or in 2020, for the next presidential election.

Ward 2 Councilor Darek Grant expressed reluctance to remove the requirement to establish a charter commission to review the charter at least every 10 years.

“Personally, I struggle with this. We have a charter for a reason, and this provision was put in by a previous charter commission for a good reason,” he said. “For me, I think we ought to honor the city’s guiding document. I don’t know if I’m there on not having a charter commission.”

Other city councilors said they could support the idea, but only if voters are asked first whether they wish to keep the requirement a commission be formed every 10 years to review the charter.

City Manager William Bridgeo said if citizens have concerns about something in the charter, they still could use the petition process to seek to change the charter.

“Put the question out to voters to remove the (10-year review requirement), or make it optional,” At-Large Councilor Corey Wilson said. “I think the citizens are still protected. I don’t see an issue.”

Langsdorf said the requirement the charter be reviewed every 10 years was added by the 1998 charter commission. He said there is no state requirement that a municipality review its charter or make changes to it within a set period of time.

On Thursday night, city councilors are scheduled to take up a proposal, which was tabled at a meeting last year, to establish a charter commission. Bridgeo said councilors could vote that proposal down and schedule an informational meeting to discuss other options, or revisit forming a charter commission.

Councilors are scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the council chamber at Augusta City Center.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

kedwards@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @kedwardskj

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-may-look-to-nix-10-year-charter-review-requirement/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/777129_794051_20160712_citybugs_70.jpgThe Augusta Planning Board on Tuesday will meet at city center to consider a new quarry blasting request and a proposed daycare expansion.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:28:11 +0000
Augusta man gets deferred disposition in stabbing case https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-man-on-deferred-disposition-in-stabbing-case/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-man-on-deferred-disposition-in-stabbing-case/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:07:31 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-man-on-deferred-disposition-in-stabbing-case/ AUGUSTA — A city man accused of stabbing a man in the face pleaded guilty Tuesday to a felony charge, which could be dismissed if he is successful on a 12-month deferred disposition.

Bradford E. Buck, 63, of Augusta, denied using a knife, but told police at the time he punched the victim twice in the face on Sept. 7, 2017, in the Quick-Mart parking lot.

“There was no black-handled knife involved,” Buck told Judge Eric Walker at the Capital Judicial Center.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Kate Marshall, said the offense occurred after a woman who formerly had been in a relationship with Buck went to retrieve her belongings.

Marshall said Buck followed the woman back to a car where she was a passenger, that he was intoxicated and that he said something “not taken too kindly” by others in the car.

Marshall said a front-seat passenger stepped from the vehicle to try to get Buck to calm down and Buck pulled a knife, striking the lip and right ear of the victim, who was from South China.

Police were called to MaineGeneral Medical Center to investigate a report of a stabbing.

No knife was recovered, Marshall said.

The victim required stitches, Marshall said, adding that he did not want to be present for Buck’s hearing and that he had had a prior bad experience at the court.

Buck’s attorney, Matthew Morgan, said there had been a protection from harassment hearing at which Buck prevailed.

Buck has previous felony and misdemeanor convictions.

If he successfully completes the deferred disposition requirements, he is expected to return to court on Jan. 15, 2019, and plead guilty to assault for a fine and a sentence of several days, which he already has served. If he fails to complete it, Marshall said, Buck would be subject to any sentence up to five years on the felony offense.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-man-on-deferred-disposition-in-stabbing-case/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795363_233625_bradfordbuck.jpgBRADFORD BUCKTue, 16 Jan 2018 16:19:34 +0000
Three organizations in running for Kennebec chamber’s President’s Choice Award https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/three-organizations-in-the-running-for-kennebec-chambers-presidents-choice-award/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/three-organizations-in-the-running-for-kennebec-chambers-presidents-choice-award/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:00:48 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/three-organizations-in-the-running-for-kennebec-chambers-presidents-choice-award/ AUGUSTA — Two years is the minimum that a business or organization must be in operation to qualify for the President’s Choice Award handed out each year by the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce as a hat tip to its revenue growth, job creation and other contributions.

While each of this year’s nominees meet those criteria, they vary considerably in the length of time they’ve been operating, from a decade to more than a century, and in other areas too.

One nominee draws thousands of visitors to Augusta each day. Another provides knowledgeable assistance to central Maine car customers and invests in the education of its employees. A third helps provide an affordable education to the next wave of business leaders.

This year’s winner will be announced at the Kenney Awards ceremony, beginning at 5 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Augusta Civic Center.

DARLING’S

General Manager Lance Quinn poses for a portrait Thursday at Darling’s Chrysler Dodge Ram and Hyundai in Augusta. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Though it originated in the Lewiston-Auburn area and now is headquartered in Bangor, the Darling’s auto chain has operated a car dealership in Augusta since 2007. The company’s sales consistently have topped those from the year before, and the last few years have been particularly busy in the Augusta branch. Last year, the company built a new dealership to replace one that had been damaged by fire several years before.

When the dealership opened on Western Avenue, near Charlie’s Motor Mall, “the business plan was to take some of Charlie’s market share,” said Lance Quinn, general manager of the Augusta location. “And we did that. We did it very successfully right off the gate.”

General Manager Lance Quinn poses for a portrait Thursday at Darling’s Chrysler Dodge Ram and Hyundai in Augusta. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Fortunately, the competitors haven’t gotten into any turf wars. “We’re cordial neighbors with Charlie’s,” Quinn added.

Besides expanding to be able to sell and service more cars, the Augusta Darling’s also prides itself on investing in its employees’ training and tries to give back to area organizations, according to Lynne Darling, director of community relations and part-owner.

During the recession, Darling said, the company started sending around to public events a truck that gives out free ice cream and accepts money for charities. “We really want, even in hard times, to find a way to keep our guys busy,” she said.

MARKETPLACE AT AUGUSTA

A long line of customers streams through the doors at 11:59 p.m. Nov. 23, 2017, in The Marketplace at Augusta. Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Many of the roughly 65,000 people who come to Augusta every day — more than tripling the city’s population — come to work or participate in state government. A smaller, but still sizable, portion of that group comes to shop in the state capital.

One of the most established shopping areas in the city is the Marketplace at Augusta, which has grown to 100 acres since Roger Pomerleau and two of his relatives — father Frank and brother Norman — first started buying land from private owners and developing it in the late 1980s.

Now an average of 29,000 people shop at the Marketplace each day, according to figures from the Chamber of Commerce. It started with a Walmart and a Sam’s Club and now includes a movie theater, restaurants, clothing outlets and a bookstore.

“The Marketplace is very much a development on an upswing,” said Keith Luke, the city’s deputy director of development services. “It has desirable stores, a very low vacancy rate. They’ve done very well to keep that development on the leading edge of retail and food service.”

One positive effect on the city’s economy is the $2.6 million the Marketplace now pays in property taxes, according to Luke.

Another effect, both Pomerleau and Luke said, is that the Marketplace sweetens the deal for someone considering a move to central Maine, and makes it easier for large employers such as MaineGeneral Health to attract talent.

“It’s one of the components that makes Augusta an attractive place to live,” said Pomerleau, who is now a minority owner of the Marketplace. “I guess that’s basically the bottom line.”

THOMAS COLLEGE

Thomas College President Laurie Lachance in her office Thursday at the Waterville college. Thomas has been nominated for the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce’s President’s Choice Award. Staff photo by David Leaming

For nearly 125 years, Thomas College in Waterville has contributed to the workforce of Maine, with about three-quarters of its graduates staying in-state, according to Chamber of Commerce figures. Its graduates can be found in the ranks of organizations and businesses around central Maine, including MaineGeneral Health, Central Maine Power Co. and Cianbro.

Its goal is to keep doing so in the coming years and to expand its offerings to meet the needs of a knowledge-based, technologically driven economy, according to the school’s president, Laurie Lachance. One example of its efforts is an accelerated master’s program in cyber security that Thomas is launching this fall.

“That is an absolutely critical area in any form of business and organization,” Lachance said, referring to the instances of hospitals, banks, stores and other companies being hacked. “Nobody is immune from this issue that is one of the most critical needs everywhere, so we’re trying to meet that need head on by creating a master’s program that can be completed while doing a day job and a portion online, and the best part about this is you don’t have to have a computer science undergrad.”

At the same time, Lachance said, Thomas strives to make its education affordable, an effort that was recently affirmed in two ways.

An analysis by The New York Times found Thomas College graduates to be in the top 23 percent for students who come from the bottom-fifth income bracket and have a chance of entering the top fifth as an adult. Last summer, Money Magazine ranked Thomas College 23rd in the nation based on the value of its degree.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/three-organizations-in-the-running-for-kennebec-chambers-presidents-choice-award/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795357_73825-20170111-lachance.jpgThomas College President Laurie Lachance in her office Thursday at the Waterville college. Thomas has been nominated for the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce's President's Choice Award.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:30:40 +0000
Randolph man with manslaughter conviction imprisoned for new OUI offense https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/randolph-man-with-manslaughter-conviction-imprisoned-for-new-oui-offense/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/randolph-man-with-manslaughter-conviction-imprisoned-for-new-oui-offense/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:49:30 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/randolph-man-with-manslaughter-conviction-imprisoned-for-new-oui-offense/ AUGUSTA — A Randolph man convicted of vehicular manslaughter in a 1995 drunken-driving crash that killed one man was sentenced Tuesday for another drunken-driving conviction, this one from November 2016.

Timothy Lee Simpson, 63, had pleaded guilty Dec. 6, 2017, at the Capital Judicial Center to charges of aggravated criminal operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident involving an unattended vehicle, both of which occurred Nov. 30, 2016, on Water Street in Augusta.

While Justice Michaela Murphy took the plea and heard the recommended sentence, the hearing was continued until Tuesday at the same courthouse.

Judge Eric Walker sentenced Simpson to an initial 14 months in prison with the remainder of the eight-year sentence suspended while he spends three years on probation. Conditions of probation prohibit Simpson from possessing alcohol or illegal drugs. He also was fined $2,100, and his license was suspended for 10 years.

Simpson was represented by attorney Elizabeth Gray.

When Walker asked if Simpson had his driver’s license on him, Simpson said, “My license expired, and I never got it renewed.”

Simpson was convicted previously of manslaughter Nov. 1, 1995, also in Kennebec County.

Simpson, who was living in Chelsea at the time, was convicted of causing the death of Michael McDaniels in a drunken-driving crash that occurred March 1, 1995, when their pickup went off Route 104 in Sidney.

Simpson was ordered to serve an initial year of an eight-year prison term and placed on probation for six years. His driver’s license was suspended for five years.

He also has prior convictions for unlawful trafficking in drugs.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/randolph-man-with-manslaughter-conviction-imprisoned-for-new-oui-offense/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795352_446887-simpson.jpgTIMOTHY SIMPSONTue, 16 Jan 2018 16:02:59 +0000
Russia hits minus 89 degrees https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/russia-hits-minus-89-degrees/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/russia-hits-minus-89-degrees/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:23:30 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/russia-hits-minus-89-degrees/
MOSCOW — Even thermometers can’t keep up with the plunging temperatures in Russia’s remote Yakutia region, which hit minus 88.6 degrees Fahrenheit in some areas Tuesday.

In Yakutia — a region of 1 million people about 3,300 miles east of Moscow — students routinely go to school even in minus 40 degrees. But school was canceled Tuesday throughout the region and police ordered parents to keep their children inside.

In the village of Oymyakon, one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, state-owned Russian television showed the mercury falling to the bottom of a thermometer that was only set up to measure down to minus 50 degrees. In 2013, Oymyakon recorded an all-time low of minus 98 Fahrenheit.

Over the weekend, two men froze to death when they tried to walk to a nearby farm after their car broke down. Three other men with them survived because they were wearing warmer clothes, investigators reported.

But the press office for Yakutia’s governor said Tuesday that all households and businesses in the region have working central heating and access to backup power generators.

Residents of Yakutia are no strangers to cold weather and this week’s cold spell was not even dominating local news headlines Tuesday.

But some media outlets published cold-weather selfies and stories about stunts in the extreme cold. Women posted pictures of their frozen eyelashes, while YakutiaMedia published a picture of Chinese students who got undressed to take a plunge in a thermal spring.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/russia-hits-minus-89-degrees/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/Screen-Shot-2018-01-16-at-3.18.58-PM.pngTue, 16 Jan 2018 15:23:30 +0000
Kennebec Journal Jan. 16 police log https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/kennebec-journal-jan-16-police-log-4/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/kennebec-journal-jan-16-police-log-4/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:20:40 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/kennebec-journal-jan-16-police-log-4/ IN AUGUSTA, Friday at 9:28 a.m., theft was reported on State Street.

Monday at 9:51 a.m., criminal trespassing was reported on Bangor Street.

10:14 a.m., a hit-and-run traffic accident was reported on Western Avenue.

10:27 a.m., a well-being check was performed on Village Circle.

11:20 a.m., theft was reported on Crossing Way.

11:24 a.m., a traffic hazard was reported on Water Street.

11:35 a.m., needles were recovered on Canal Street.

11:51 a.m., theft was reported on School Street.

1:11 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Union Street.

1:59 p.m., harassment was reported on Child Street.

2:53 p.m., theft was reported on Gray Birch Drive.

3:54 p.m., city ordinance violations were reported on Greenlief Street.

4:04 p.m., shoplifting was reported on Crossing Way.

4:05 p.m., shoplifting was reported on Crossing Way.

4:14 p.m., harassment was reported on Spruce Street.

4:40 p.m., theft was reported on Civic Center Drive.

5:12 p.m., a hit-and-run traffic accident was reported on Civic Center Drive.

6:20 p.m., a well-being check was performed on Western Avenue.

6:30 p.m., an overdose rescue was performed on Water Street.

7:56 p.m., a mental health and well-being check was performed on Boothby Street.

Tuesday at 1:58 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Mount Vernon Avenue.

IN CHELSEA, Friday at 1:28 p.m., theft was reported on Cony Road.

Saturday at 10:28 a.m., a well-being check was performed on River Road.

IN GARDINER, Friday at 8:48 p.m., a well-being check was performed on River Avenue.

Sunday at 2:50 p.m., a traffic hazard was reported on Liberty Street.

IN HALLOWELL, Monday at 8:27 a.m., property was recovered on Warren Street.

11:34 a.m., a well-being check was performed on Water Street.

IN MONMOUTH, Friday at 4:14 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Route 135.

10:23 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Karen Avenue.

Saturday at 8:22 a.m., a traffic hazard was reported on Warren and Anderson roads.

Monday at 1:27 p.m., a well-being check was performed on Cressey Road.

Tuesday at 1:02 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Neal Lane.

IN WINDSOR, Saturday at 5:33 p.m., a well-being check was performed on Twenty Rod Road.

IN WINTHROP, Sunday at 6:28 p.m., a suspicious person was reported on Highland Avenue.

6:59 p.m., theft was reported on Main Street.

11:33 p.m., a suspicious person was reported on Highland Avenue.

Monday at 7:05 p.m., a well-being check was performed on Hubbard Lane.

Tuesday at 5:30 a.m., assault was reported on Fairway Lane.

ARRESTS

IN AUGUSTA, Monday at 7:03 p.m., Sierra A. Kanaris, 20, of Augusta, was arrested on an unidentified charge, after shoplifting was reported on Western Avenue.

10:03 p.m., Bradley R. Atkins, 26, of Augusta, was arrested on a warrant, after an attempt to locate was performed on Washington Street.

IN GARDINER, Friday at 9:37 p.m., Jonathan Ryan Marcoullier, 28, of Hallowell, was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence, on Brunswick Avenue.

IN HALLOWELL, Monday at 1:28 p.m., Justin S. Buker, 28, of South China, was arrested on three warrants, after a disabled motor vehicle was reported on Water Street.

IN PITTSTON, Monday at 10:14 a.m., Harrison Benjamin Hite, 28, of Augusta, was arrested on a warrant, on Route 27.

IN WINTHROP, at an unidentified date and time, Alyssa L. Labbe, 28, of Winthrop, was arrested on a charge of theft, on Main Street.

SUMMONS

IN AUGUSTA, Monday at 5:39 p.m., Edward Leo Jacobsen, 34, of Windsor, was summoned on a charge of unlawful possession of a scheduled drug, after an overdose rescue was performed on Western Avenue.

Tuesday at 4:59 a.m., Julie Ann Clark, 50, of Augusta, was summoned on a charge of operating while license was suspended or revoked, after a traffic stop was performed on Western Avenue.

5:09 a.m., a 33-year-old Augusta man was summoned on a charge of operating while license was suspended or revoked, during a traffic stop on Mount Vernon Avenue and Townsend Road.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/kennebec-journal-jan-16-police-log-4/feed/ 0 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 15:48:37 +0000
Manchester man accused of stealing more than $10,000 from Grange https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/manchester-man-accused-of-stealing-more-than-10000-from-grange/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/manchester-man-accused-of-stealing-more-than-10000-from-grange/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:55:09 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/manchester-man-accused-of-stealing-more-than-10000-from-grange/ AUGUSTA —A Manchester man is accused of stealing more than $10,000 from the Manchester Grange over a seven-month period last year.

Daniel Thomas Nichols, 33, faces two felony charges — one of theft by unauthorized taking, and one of forgery. Each carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

The latter charge says that Nichols “with the intent to defraud or deceive another person or government did falsely make, complete, endorse or alter written instruments, checks,” and that the offenses occurred between Dec. 14, 2016, and Aug. 14, 2017, in Manchester.

The complaint, filed at the Capital Judicial Center, seeks restitution of $10,517. The case was investigated by Maine State Police Trooper Reid Bond.

Nichols, who is represented by attorney Scott Hess, was at the Capital Judicial Center on Tuesday for a dispositional hearing. However, the case was continued for two months after the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Tracey DeVoll, and Hess had a brief bench conference with the judge.

Nichols has yet to answer to the charges; however, he previously waived a requirement that his case be presented to a grand jury within a certain time limit.

According to a Dec. 21, 2017, filing by DeVoll, the state and the defense are in negotiations and a plea is likely.

After the hearing, Hess said, “We are working towards a resolution,”

In response to a question about the case, Sherry Harriman, president of the Maine State Grange, said Friday, “Our executive board is handling that, and our attorneys are taking care of it,” and then she immediately hung up the phone.

The Manchester Grange celebrated its 150th anniversary last September. At the time, it reportedly had 40 members.

Financial information about the Manchester Grange is unavailable on websites that track tax returns of such nonprofit groups.

At the time of the anniversary celebration, an event chairwoman said the Grange raises money for a nurse’s scholarship, the Home for Little Wanderers, a local fuel assistance fund and a local food bank; and it hosts bean suppers regularly from May to October, as well as two large craft shows.

Nichols was summoned to court on the charges, which were filed Sept. 21, 2017, and made an initial appearance Oct. 2, 2017.

He has been free since then, and no bail is set in the case.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/manchester-man-accused-of-stealing-more-than-10000-from-grange/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795337_164342-DanielTNichols.jpgDANIEL T. NICHOLSTue, 16 Jan 2018 15:59:04 +0000
Morning Sentinel Jan. 16 police log https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/morning-sentinel-jan-16-police-log-4/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/morning-sentinel-jan-16-police-log-4/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:40:31 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/morning-sentinel-jan-16-police-log-4/ IN ANSON, Monday at 12:17 p.m., threatening was reported on Parkwoods Drive.

5:08 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Campground Road.

IN CANAAN, Monday at 4:27 p.m., a burglary was reported on Adams Road.

IN CLINTON, Monday at 12:40 p.m., police made an arrest after being called for an escort on Winn Avenue.

7:35 p.m., police investigated a report of harassment on Pearl Street.

IN FAIRFIELD, Monday at 11:19 a.m., a report of an intoxicated person was investigated on Valley Farms Road.

12:14 p.m., an auto theft was reported on Norridgewock Road.

Tuesday at 2:33 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Joy Road.

8:01 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Lawrence Avenue.

7:19 a.m., threatening was reported on Norridgewock Road.

8:38 a.m., a theft was reported on Skowhegan Road.

IN JACKMAN, Monday at 3:32 p.m., police made an arrest during a traffic stop on Coburn (West) Road.

IN MADISON, Monday at 7:49 a.m., police made an arrest on Main Street.

6:28 p.m., a scam complaint was taken from Weston Avenue.

7:17 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Main Street.

Tuesday at 8:03 a.m., police were called to assist another agency on John Street.

IN NORRIDGEWOCK, Monday at 10:57 a.m., police made an arrest on Hotel Street.

IN OAKLAND, Monday at 10:30 a.m., a report of harassment was taken on Oak Street.

12:32 p.m., police investigated a report of a burglary alarm on Mallard Lane.

1:52 p.m., criminal trespassing was reported on Pleasant Street.

11:27 p.m., police investigated a report of suspicious activity on Webb Road.

Tuesday at 4:59 a.m., police investigated a report of a burglary alarm on Bricket Point Estates.

IN PITTSFIELD, Tuesday at 8:35 a.m., a harassment complaint was taken from Somerset Avenue.

IN ST. ALBANS, Monday at 9:49 p.m., a complaint was taken from Bryant Road.

IN SKOWHEGAN, Monday at 10:03 a.m., a report of criminal mischief was taken from Greenwood Avenue.

1:50 p.m., police were called to assist another agency on Fairview Avenue.

1:50 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Cross Street.

6:06 p.m., suspicious activity was reported at Fairgrounds Market Place.

7:31 p.m., a complaint about trespassing was taken from McClellan Street.

Tuesday at 12:54 a.m., police made an arrest during a traffic stop on North Avenue.

IN SMITHFIELD, Monday at 10:35 p.m., police made an arrest after a report of suspicious activity on Village Road.

IN WATERVILLE, Monday 11:49 a.m., police investigated a report of a burglary on Silver Street.

1:11 p.m., a theft was reported at Colby College’s senior apartments on Mayflower Hill Drive.

3:35 p.m., shoplifting was reported from the parking lot on JFK Plaza.

7:08 p.m., a theft was reported on West River Road.

7:29 p.m., police investigated a report of criminal mischief at Bull Moose Music on Elm Plaza.

8:44 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Elm Street.

9:55 p.m., police investigated a report of an assault on Center Street.

IN WINSLOW, Monday at 10:06 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Lasalle Street.

9:50 p.m., police investigated a report of an unwanted subject on Chadwick Street.

ARRESTS

IN FRANKLIN COUNTY, Monday at 10:23 a.m., Paris R. Jones, 34, of Jay, was arrested on a noncompliance contempt order.

12:28 p.m., Jessica D. Taylor, 39, of Madison, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear for possession of scheduled drug.

3:45 p.m., Nicholas F. Silva, 38, of Strong, was arrested on a charge of operating without a license.

4:35 p.m., Amanda S. Bitterauf, 35, of Portland, was arrested on warrants for failure to appear for failing to notify of motor vehicle accident, operating vehicle without license and operating under the influence.

8:55 p.m., Jonathan M. Maginnis, 25, of Farmington, was arrested on charges of probation revocation for criminal trespassing and probation revocation for criminal attempt.

IN SOMERSET COUNTY, Monday at 11:26 a.m., Dustin Lewis Everett, 34, of Anson, was arrested on two warrants for unpaid fines or fees.

4:34 p.m., Daniel Murphy, 29, of Jackman, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear on an operating under the influence charge.

6:31 p.m., Terry Morey, 29, of Oakland, was arrested on a charge of violating conditions of release.

Tuesday at 12:02 a.m., Melissa J. Crone, 31, of Freeport, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear.

5:20 a.m., Keith R. Gould, 35, of St. Albans, was arrested on two warrants for unpaid fines or fees.

5:33 a.m., Justin Howard Amos, 25, of Milford, was arrested on a charge of failure to appear for unpaid restitution.

2:07 a.m., Dean J. Manzer, 24, of Anson, was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence.

IN WATERVILLE, Monday at 1:17 p.m., Jared C. Colby, 26, of Waterville, was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and unlawful possession of scheduled drugs.

3:56 p.m., Jared C. Colby, 26, of Waterville, was arrested on a charge of violating condition of release for operating under the influence.

IN WINSLOW, Monday at 12:27 p.m., Matthew A. Hubbard, 37, of Winslow, was arrested on a warrant.

SUMMONS

IN WATERVILLE, Monday at 4:06 p.m., Adam S. Bajpai, 26, of Waterville, was summoned on a charge of theft by unauthorized use of property.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/morning-sentinel-jan-16-police-log-4/feed/ 0 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:54:38 +0000
Portland man waives initial court appearance on murder charge https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/portland-man-waives-initial-court-appearance-on-murder-charge/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:38:56 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/portland-man-waives-initial-court-appearance-on-murder-charge/ A 40-year-old Portland man accused of shooting his longtime domestic partner to death Jan. 7 waived his right to an initial court appearance Tuesday.

Anthony Leng will instead move to have a probable cause hearing, which could be held as early as next week.

Leng was present in the courthouse but did not appear in the courtroom. He will be held without bail at the Cumberland County Jail until the hearing, at the request of Assistant Attorney General Meg Elam.

Leng is charged with one count of murder for allegedly shooting Sokha Khuon, 36, inside the Dorothy Street home in Portland they shared with two of their children. Police said previously that they were called to the home by a neighbor who heard multiple shots.

When officers arrived they found two of the couple’s children outside, police said previously.

Leng, a maintenance worker for the Portland Housing Authority since 2006, was known among neighbors as a family-oriented man who went out of his way to help others.

Police said Leng had no history of domestic violence or other crimes, and that a handgun was used in the killing. Leng was known to be a hunter and sportsman, and owned firearms and hunting bows, neighbors said.

Justice Joyce Wheeler granted a motion to impound the police affidavit, and no new details were offered during the brief court hearing that would shed light on what investigators believe occurred in the home that led to the shooting.

Leng’s next court date has not been set. The hearing, called a Harnish hearing, will decide whether police have probable cause to charge Leng with the crime. After the hearing, the issue of bail may be decided.

This story will be updated.

]]>
https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/dorothy-street-2.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 14:51:19 +0000
World’s largest sea turtle could come off ‘endangered’ list https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/worlds-largest-sea-turtle-could-come-off-endangered-list/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/worlds-largest-sea-turtle-could-come-off-endangered-list/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:05:59 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/worlds-largest-sea-turtle-could-come-off-endangered-list/ Federal ocean managers say it might be time to move the East Coast population of the world’s largest turtle from the United States’ list of endangered animals.

An arm of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has received a petition from a fishing group asking that the Northwest Atlantic Ocean’s leatherback sea turtles be listed as “threatened,” but not endangered, under the Endangered Species Act. The giant reptiles, which can weigh 2,000 pounds, would remain protected under federal law, but their status would be moved down a notch.

NOAA officials have said the agency has reviewed the petition from the New Jersey-based Blue Water Fishermen’s Association and found “substantial scientific and commercial information” that the move might be warranted. The agency now has about eight months to make a decision about the status of the turtles.

Leatherbacks live all over the world’s oceans and have been listed as endangered by the U.S. since 1970. Deciding whether the listing should be changed will require determining the stability of the population, said Jennifer Schultz, a fisheries biologist with NOAA Fisheries.

“We’ll look at scientific papers, we look at the best available scientific and commercial data,” she said. “And then we’ll say, ‘What does the status look like? How are they doing?’ “

The fishing group that requested the change wants the Northwestern Atlantic’s leatherback population to be considered a distinct segment of the population. That segment would include all of the leatherbacks that nest on beaches in the eastern U.S. states. But NOAA Fisheries is going to look at the status of the turtles worldwide, said Angela Somma, chief of endangered species division with NOAA Fisheries.

Blue Water Fishermen’s Association requested the change of listing in part to spur new research into the status of the leatherback population, said Ernie Panacek, a past president of the organization. Data about species such as sea turtles and marine mammals play a role in crafting fishing regulations, and fishermen fear the government is using outdated data about leatherbacks, he said.

“I get a little frustrated in the fact that they are making regulations without scientific data in front of them,” he said. “The more turtles there are, the more interactions you are bound to have with them.”

The leatherback sea turtle has been the subject of intense interest from conservation groups over the years. Its listing as endangered by the U.S. predates the modern Endangered Species Act, which was enacted in 1973. The Costa Rica-based Leatherback Trust, an international nonprofit group, describes them as “ancient creatures celebrated in creation myths belonging to diverse cultures around the world.”

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the leatherback sea turtle as “vulnerable,” which is one notch above “endangered” on the IUCN’s scale. It’s one of the largest reptiles on Earth, feeding mostly on jellyfish, which has left them at risk to plastic in the ocean, which can kill them if they ingest it. They are also notable for being the deepest diving and most migratory of all sea turtles, and for their lack of a bony shell.

NOAA is collecting information and comments on the subject until Feb. 5.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/worlds-largest-sea-turtle-could-come-off-endangered-list/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1317389_Sea_Turtle_Protection_93936.jpgA rare leatherback sea turtle named Yawkey moves off the beach and returns to the the Atlantic Ocean at Isle of Palms, S.C., after it was treated at the South Carolina Aquarium in 2015. Leatherbacks live all over the world's oceans and have been listed as endangered by the U.S. since 1970.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:44:55 +0000
Portland police officer arrested in out-of-state concert disturbance https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/portland-police-officer-arrested-in-massachusetts/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:26:18 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/portland-police-officer-arrested-in-massachusetts/ A 24-year-old Portland police officer has been charged with five misdemeanors, including assault and battery, after being arrested Saturday night at a concert venue in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Worcester police said Zahra Munye Abu, of Portland, is also facing charges of trespassing, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace.

Abu caused a disturbance while attending a Ja Rule and Ashanti concert at the Palladium Nightclub on Main Street, said Worcester police Sgt. Kerry F. Hazelhurst.

“The nightclub was hosting several live musical acts,” Hazelhurst said in an email. “She was (given) several opportunities to leave and refused. Eventually she was placed under arrest.”

Worcester police would not provide more details about the incident, and members of Abu’s family declined to comment when contacted by phone at their home.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said Abu has been placed on administrative leave with pay pending a review of the matter.

“The Portland Police Department was notified late Saturday night of the arrest of Police Officer Zahra Abu in Worcester, Massachusetts,” Sauschuck said in an email. “This issue will be dealt with as a personnel matter from this point forward, so I will have no further comment.”

Chris Besaw, the Palladium general manager, declined to comment about the arrest or what occurred before local police became involved.

Abu was bailed out of jail at 1 a.m. Sunday, Hazelhurst said. He did not know the bail amount. She is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Worcester District Court.

Abu is a high-profile member of the Portland police force because she is the first member of Maine’s Somali immigrant community to become a police officer in Maine.

She was born to Somali parents in a Kenyan refugee camp and has lived in Portland since she was 2 years old. She graduated from Deering High School in Portland and studied criminal justice and women-and-gender issues at the University of Southern Maine.

If convicted, Abu faces a maximum penalty of up to 2½ years in a county jail on the assault and battery and the resisting arrest charges. Each of the other charges include less severe maximum penalties.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

mbyrne@pressherald.com

Twitter: MattByrnePPH

]]>
https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/zahra-abu.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 20:43:34 +0000
Democrat Adam Cote leads Blaine House candidates in campaign fundraising https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/money-starts-to-flow-in-campaigns-for-maine-governor/ Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:24:53 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/money-starts-to-flow-in-campaigns-for-maine-governor/ AUGUSTA — Democratic candidate Adam Cote is leading the gubernatorial fundraising race, according to campaign finance reports that were being filed Tuesday with the state.

Cote, a Sanford attorney and 20-year veteran of the Maine National Guard, has raised $546,000 since he launched his campaign last April, including $278,000 in donations during the last six months of 2017, his campaign said. Cote has $350,896 in cash on hand.

“It is clear Maine people want change and new leadership in Augusta,” Cote said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “The fact is, we have an economy that has been lagging New England and the country for seven-plus years when it comes to job growth, economic growth and income growth – and rural Maine has been hit the hardest.”

However, Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills raised more money than any candidate in either party during the July through December fundraising period, bringing in $352,575, her campaign said, while noting that the average contribution was $178. She entered the race in July.

“It’s clear that Democrats want someone with both the values and the qualifications to lead Maine into a brighter future, and they agree Janet Mills is that person,” said Michael Ambler, Mills’ campaign manager.

Reports filed by Republican candidate Shawn Moody, owner of a chain of auto body shops, showed he had raised $301,705 and had about $260,000 in cash on hand at the beginning of January. The report also showed he contributed $150,000 to his own campaign.

“As an outsider who is not part of the political system in Augusta, I am proud of the fact that we’ve raised substantial support in just the six weeks we had before the filing deadline,” Moody said in a prepared statement Tuesday. “I am even more pleased that our campaign is showing fiscal prudence and responsibility, as a common-sense conservative. It is important to show that we are good stewards of people’s finances.”

Moody serves on the boards of trustees for both the Maine Community College System and the University of Maine System, positions he was appointed to by the current governor, Republican Paul LePage.

Alan Caron, a Freeport independent, also leaned heavily on his own resources, donating $250,000 to his traditionally financed campaign while collecting another $30,195 from donors.

“As we enter election year when Mainers will pick a new governor to lead us in the years ahead, our campaign is prepared and ready to highlight our message to voters from one end of the state to another,” Caron said in a prepared statement.

On the Democratic side, former Maine Speaker of the House Mark Eves, of North Berwick, said in a prepared statement that he had received donations of $160,000, with more than 90 percent coming from Maine people in amounts of $200 or less. Eves also took aim at LePage.

“We have traveled all around the state listening to Maine voters about their frustrations and about how we can build a better Maine together,” Eves said. “For too long, Gov. LePage has ignored the voters and made it harder for Maine families to get by.”

REFLECTIONS OF SERIOUS COMMITMENT

The 23 candidates who have registered to run for the Blaine House faced a deadline of midnight Tuesday to file reports that detail how much money they had raised and spent during the last six months of 2017.

Others in the race include state Senate President Mike Thibodeau, a Republican from Winterport, and former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew, a Republican from South China.

Mayhew’s report showed she had raised just over $119,000 during the period and a total of $197,838 since she registered as a candidate in June 2017. She reported having $94,670 in cash on hand at the start of January.

Meanwhile, Thibodeau, who announced his campaign in October 2017, reported $100,763 in donations during the period and counted $58,898 in cash on hand.

“I couldn’t be more proud of the support this campaign has received since we launched,” Thibodeau said in a prepared statement. “The hard work is just beginning, but this immediate statewide support reflects exactly what I’ve been seeing on the campaign trail – Maine Republicans are ready for strong, conservative leadership with a purpose.”

Mark Brewer, a political science professor at the University of Maine in Orono, said the campaign finance numbers can be telling, but large sums in early donations do not always equate to votes.

He said the financial reports can help candidates build momentum for their campaigns, and in some cases reflect a serious commitment by the candidates to invest in themselves.

As an example, Brewer pointed to Moody, the Gorham businessman.

“Someone like Shawn Moody, who hasn’t been in all that long, the fact that he has already raised well over $100,000-plus and he is also apparently matching that with a loan of equal or similar amounts from his own personal finances, I think that demonstrates one – he’s got some traction, among at least some part of the donor base, and two – he’s serious about the campaign,” Brewer said. “Serious enough to put up some of his own money.”

MONEY DOESN’T EQUAL VOTES

Conversely, Brewer said candidates who have been in the race for longer periods of time, but hadn’t picked up significant donors, might need to reassess their campaigns. “That can be indicative of either lack of enthusiasm and/or lack of effort, both of which should be concerning to a campaign,” he said.

Still, Brewer said that with nearly six months to go until the June primary, the campaigns are still in relatively early stages. “Money doesn’t equal votes by any means,” he said. “But you can tell some things from these early reports.”

Candidates who are seeking public funding under the Maine Clean Elections Act must meet specific goals.

Among them is Betsy Sweet, a Democratic lobbyist from Hallowell who was the first Clean Elections candidate to file. She reported raising just over $88,000 in qualifying seed donations. She must collect at least 3,200 donations of $5 each from registered Maine voters. Clean Elections candidates can collect up to $200,000 in seed money contributions, but donors can only give a maximum of $100 each. Seed donations can come from any U.S. citizen.

Clean Elections candidates for governor can collect up to $1 million in public financing for a contested primary and a maximum of $2 million for the general election, if they survive their primaries.

Sweet said Tuesday she was about one-third of the way to collecting the required $5 contributions. She said she intends to collect the maximum amount of allowable seed money, which is $200,000.

Sweet noted that 70 percent of her donations came from Maine people.

“I am honored and humbled by the breadth of grass roots support I have received from people from all over the state,” Sweet said in a prepared statement. “My decades of work as an advocate for poor and working families – winning on issues that secure a healthy and fair future for all Maine people – has generated excitement and energy for this campaign.”

Sweet said in an interview that her campaign was on track to disprove criticism that the Clean Elections qualification requirements are too steep to make a publicly financed campaign viable.

Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason of Lisbon, the only Republican candidate in the race seeking public financing, reported collecting just over $31,000 of seed donations of $100 or less.

DOING WHAT’S NECESSARY

Jim Boyle, a former Democratic state senator from Gorham, announced he had raised $134,000, with $54,000 coming from donors and $80,000 coming in the form of a loan he made to his own campaign.

“I want to show voters that I’m committed to them, and I’m willing to make the investment to get Augusta working for working people,” Boyle said, also in a prepared statement. “The economy, the opioid crisis, Medicaid expansion, climate change, we know what the problems are, and it is time we get to work solving them. We don’t need the most money to win. If the grass roots continue to support my campaign, we’ll continue to do what’s necessary to compete.”

State Sen. Mark Dion, D-Portland and also a former Cumberland County sheriff, reported almost $16,000 in total contributions, with about $14,000 of it coming in the last six months of 2017.

Former Bangor Mayor Sean Faircloth, another Democrat in the race running as a Clean Elections candidate, reported raising $640 in seed money contributions during the recently closed reporting period.

Maine Green Independent Party candidate Betsy Marsano filed a report showing she had collected $1,145 in seed money contributions.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

sthistle@pressherald.com

Twitter: thisdog

]]>
https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1317369_750165-blainehousefront.jpgblaine house for in touch with south augusta...The manion at corner of state and capital streets near state house has long been used as governor's executive mansion, although gov. angus king refused to stay there and resides in brunswick. staff photo/joe phelan/ 02-10-01Tue, 16 Jan 2018 21:49:25 +0000
Trump vulgarity debate has become a ‘s—show,’ senator says https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trump-aides-debate-version-vulgarity-trump-uttered/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trump-aides-debate-version-vulgarity-trump-uttered/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:21:22 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=795292 The clamor over President Donald Trump’s use of a vulgarity bled into a second week Tuesday as aides took issue with details in accounts of his comments and a Republican senator who was present for the original remark said the situation had become an “s-show.”

Trump was said to have uttered “shithole” during last Thursday’s conversation to describe countries in Africa during immigration talks with senators in the Oval Office, a version supported by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and some Republicans.

Asked about Trump’s comments challenging his honesty, Durbin told reporters Tuesday: “I stand by every word I said about what was said.”

Later, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Trump had drastically changed his tune on a compromise immigration bill just before the Thursday meeting. Graham said Trump had been badly served by his staff and the situation had turned into an “s-show.”

On Capitol Hill, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen testified under oath Tuesday that she “did not hear” Trump use the vulgarity to describe African countries. But she said she didn’t “dispute the president was using tough language.”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., asked her specifically if she heard the vulgarity or a “substantially similar word” to describe certain countries. She said “others in the room were also using tough language.”

There is internal debate in the West Wing over whether Trump said “shithole” or “shithouse.” One person who attended the meeting told aides they heard the latter expletive, while others recalled the president saying the more widely reported “shithole,” according to a person briefed on the meeting but not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations.

The person believes the discrepancy may be why some Republican senators are denying having heard the president say “shithole.”

Trump has not clarified to aides what he said, but told reporters Sunday night in Florida that comments attributed to him “weren’t made.” The White House has not denied that Trump used a vulgar term, and indicated Tuesday that no apology would be forthcoming. There appears to be little difference in meaning between the two words.

“The president hasn’t said he didn’t use strong language,” press secretary Sarah Sanders said. “This is an important issue, he’s passionate about it, he’s not going to apologize for trying to fix our immigration system.”

The debate continued to play out Tuesday as Washington was gripped with uncertainty over whether the government would shut down at midnight Friday, when temporary government funding is set to run out, in the absence of a deal on immigration and other matters. The path to a deal seems even more complicated after last week’s coarse Oval Office conversation, and Trump has accused Durbin of undermining the trust necessary to reach an agreement.

Without explicitly denying using the vulgarity, Trump lashed out at Durbin, who said Trump uttered it several times during the meeting.

“Senator Dicky Durbin totally misrepresented what was said at the DACA meeting,” Trump tweeted Monday, using a nickname to needle the Illinois senator. “Deals can’t get made when there is no trust! Durbin blew DACA and is hurting our Military.”

He was referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects young people who came to the U.S. as children and are living here illegally. Trump announced last year that he will end the Obama-era DACA program unless lawmakers come up with a solution by March. Members of Congress from both parties are trying to strike a deal that Trump would support to extend that protection.

Asked about Trump’s comments, Durbin said, “Politics ain’t beanbag. I understand that. But I’ll tell you this: I stand by every word I said about what was said and what happened.”

Durbin has said the White House should release whatever recording it might have of the meeting. The White House said there are no tapes.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, one of the six senators in the meeting with Trump on Thursday, supported Durbin’s account.

Durbin and people who were briefed on the conversation but were not authorized to describe it publicly said Trump also questioned the need to admit more Haitians. They said Trump expressed a preference for immigrants from countries like Norway, which is overwhelmingly white.

Republican Sens. David Perdue of Georgia and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who also attended Thursday’s meeting, initially said they did not hear Trump utter the word in question, then revised their account to deny he said it at all.

Durbin said after the Oval Office meeting that Trump’s words to the senators were “vile, hate-filled and clearly racial in their content.”

A confidant of Trump told The Associated Press that the president spent Thursday evening calling friends and outside advisers to judge their reaction to his remarks. Trump wasn’t apologetic and denied he was racist, said the confidant, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a private conversation.

Trump insisted afterward in a tweet that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country. Never said ‘take them out.’ Made up by Dems.” Trump wrote, “I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians.

The contentious comments came as Durbin was presenting details of a compromise immigration plan that had money for a first installment of the president’s long-sought border wall.

Trump took particular issue with the idea that people who’d fled to the U.S. after disasters hit their homes in places such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Haiti would be allowed to stay as part of the deal, according to the people briefed on the conversation.

When it came to talk of extending protections for Haitians, Durbin said Trump replied, “We don’t need more Haitians.'”

“He said, ‘Put me down for wanting more Europeans to come to this country. Why don’t we get more people from Norway?'” Durbin said.

Democrats have condemned Trump’s remarks as “racist,” a charge Sanders rejected as “outrageous.”

If the allegation were true, she asked reporters, “Why did NBC give him a show for a decade on TV? Why did Chuck Schumer and all of his colleagues come and beg Donald Trump for money?”

AP writers Alan Fram and Zeke Miller contributed from Washington. Lemire reported from New York.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/trump-aides-debate-version-vulgarity-trump-uttered/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/AP18016618207226.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 15:10:04 +0000
Sharapova back in Oz, joins Federer, Djokovic in 2nd round https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/sharapova-back-in-oz-joins-federer-djokovic-in-2nd-round/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/sharapova-back-in-oz-joins-federer-djokovic-in-2nd-round/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:47:18 +0000 http://www.pressherald.com/2018/01/16/sharapova-back-in-oz-joins-federer-djokovic-in-2nd-round/ MELBOURNE, Australia — It wasn’t Maria Sharapova’s choice to miss the last Australian Open. That decision was taken out of her hands because of a doping ban following a failed test on her previous visit to Melbourne Park.

The five-time major champion said it was her choice to return, though, and she relished every moment of it in Tuesday’s 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria.

“With that choice I know that I face difficulties and challenges on the court, and that I start from no ranking and that I might start on some outside courts, and I understand that and that’s part of the process,” said Sharapova, who was a contentious choice to represent the women’s champions last week at the official draw.

She was banned for 15 months after testing positive for meldonium, not long after the medication was added to the list of banned substances, when she was in Australia in 2016.

So when Serena Williams won the 2017 Australian Open, Sharapova was sick in bed and watching on TV.

She returned in April and, because of her slide down the rankings, needed some wild-card entries to enter tournaments. She made her return to the majors at the U.S. Open, and finished the year ranked No. 60.

“I learned what it feels like to be on the ground and seeing life from the ground, and I’m not shying away from any part of that,” she said. “I love what I do. I’m a competitor and that’s why I continue to do it.”

There were all kinds of comebacks on Tuesday. Six-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic and 2014 winner Stan Wawrinka returned from injuries that had sidelined them since Wimbledon, top-ranked Simona Halep recovered from 5-2 down in her first set and a tumble in the second, and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber continued her amazing return to form.

Defending champion Roger Federer just picked up where he left off, beating Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a night match, his first on Rod Laver Arena since clinching a career-reviving title in Melbourne last year.

The 19-time major champion has been met on court after previous wins by tennis greats Laver, John McEnroe and Jim Courier.

On Tuesday night, he got something different. Comedian Will Ferrell stepped out of the crowd and, slipping into character as Ron Burgundy, conducted the post-match interview.

As usual, the 36-year-old Federer stayed classy.

Djokovic tweaked his service motion while recovering from an injured right elbow, and used it to good effect in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Donald Young.

Djokovic lost in the second round last year, but won five of the previous six Australian Open titles. This time, he has four-time champion Andre Agassi in his corner.

“Obviously I wanted to start with the right intensity, which I have,” Djokovic said. “I played perfect tennis, like I never stopped.”

Wawrinka, who had six months out after surgery on his left knee, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2).

Fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, No. 5 Dominic Thiem, No. 7 David Goffin, No. 12 Juan Martin del Potro and No. 19 Tomas Berdych all advanced, but No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Fernando Verdasco and former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic lost to Lukas Lacko.

No. 13 Sam Querrey restored some order for the U.S. men with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Feliciano Lopez.

Madison Keys reversed a trend, becoming the only one of the four American women who contested the U.S. Open semifinals four months ago to reach the second round in Australia.

The 17th-seeded Keys, the U.S. Open runner-up, advanced with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Wang Qiang and will be one of four American women who made it through the opening two days.

Halep ended a run of back-to-back first-round exits in Melbourne by beating teenage wild-card entry Destanee Aiava 7-6 (5), 6-1, setting up a match against 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard.

Former No. 1-ranked Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open champion, continued her resurgent run with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam to extend her streak to 10 consecutive wins.

Wimbledon champion Garbine Mugurza, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Caroline Garcia, No. 9 Johanna Konta, No. 16 Elena Vesnina, No. 18 Ash Barty, No. 26 Agnieszka Radwanska and No. 28 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni also advanced.

Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic. She missed the Australian Open last year while recovering from a knife attack that easily could have derailed her career.

Sharapova’s long absence from the tour means she isn’t seeded in Melbourne, but that doesn’t bother her.

“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been back here – obviously I wanted to enjoy the moment,” Sharapova said after closing her win over Maria with an ace, then blowing kisses to the crowd.

Sharapova will next play 14th-seeded Anastasija Sevastova, who beat her at last year’s U.S. Open.

That loss was part of the process that Sharapova believes has set her up for this season.

“I felt like I have got a lot of things out of the way physically and emotionally and mentally last year,” she said. “There was a lot of firsts again for me, playing the first tournament, first Grand Slam, and just different feelings and what it would be routinely. … But it felt pretty routine today.”

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/sharapova-back-in-oz-joins-federer-djokovic-in-2nd-round/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1317340_Australian_Open_Tennis_3007.jpgCoCo Vandeweghe of the United States hits a forehand return to Hungary's Timea Babos during their first-round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:47:18 +0000
Reimer to give talk about Weskeag Marsh on Jan. 18 in Camden https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/eimer-to-give-talk-about-weskeag-marsh-on-jan-18-in-camden/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/eimer-to-give-talk-about-weskeag-marsh-on-jan-18-in-camden/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:32:02 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=795287 CAMDEN — Don Reimer, Mid-Coast Audubon board member, birder, photographer and columnist, will give a photographic tour of Weskeag Marsh’s varied habitats and rich assortment of bird and animal life at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at Camden Public Library, 55 Main St.

After a decade of volunteering with the annual International Shorebird Surveys, Reimer will discuss Weskeag’s vital role in seasonal shorebird migration and the fostering conservation work of Georges River Land Trust’s “Bridging Two Rivers” project.

The program is free and open to all. Donations are encouraged. For more information, call the library at 236-3440.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/eimer-to-give-talk-about-weskeag-marsh-on-jan-18-in-camden/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795287_657037-Hudsonian-Godwit.jpgA Hudsonian GodwitTue, 16 Jan 2018 13:40:50 +0000
Gardening for pollinators presentation set https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardening-for-pollinators-presentation-set/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardening-for-pollinators-presentation-set/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:31:44 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardening-for-pollinators-presentation-set/ WALDOBORO — Knox Lincoln County Beekeepers will host beekeeper and Master Gardener Jean Vose at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20, at the Knox-Lincoln Counties Extension Office at 377 Manktown Road.

“Pollinators and the Gardens that Feed Them” will be the topic of the presentation. The free slideshow will cover the basics needed to create a pollinator friendly garden as well as the food sources that attract and nourish them.

An overview of Maine pollinators, their activity and role in garden pollination will be discussed. Maine pollinators include bees, honey, bumble and native, as well as hummingbirds, butterflies, moths, bats and flies. Participants can learn about the principles of planting a pollinator garden, providing an eco-friendly landscape for garden creatures and the value of native plants.

Handouts will provide information including plant lists of the nectar and pollen sources in midcoast Maine. Other information will be available about pollinators, eco-friendly practices, invasive plants and gardens. Honey bees and other insects are vital to the pollination of many flowers, fruits and vegetables. In recent years, pollinators have been challenged by habitat loss, predatory and parasitic insects along with insecticides.

Coffee, tea and breakfast treats will be served.

For more information, call the library at 563-7564 or visit klcbee.com.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/gardening-for-pollinators-presentation-set/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795284_657037-Dec-Jean-Vose.jpgJean VoseTue, 16 Jan 2018 12:31:46 +0000
Drones topic of Feb. 17 conference in Augusta https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/drones-topic-of-feb-17-conference-in-augusta/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/drones-topic-of-feb-17-conference-in-augusta/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:31:44 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/drones-topic-of-feb-17-conference-in-augusta/ The University of Maine at Augusta, through the Unmanned Aircraft Systems pilot training center, will host a daylong conference, Drone Applications for Business: Navigating Your Airspace, on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Jewett Auditorium on UMA’s Augusta campus, according to a news release from Thomas Abbott, project manager for the UAS Pilot Training Center at UMA.

This conference will showcase cutting edge drone applications for businesses. A snow date has been reserved for Feb. 24.

The goal of the conference is to provide anyone interested, especially business owners, with a better understanding of how drones can bring their operations to a new level. Leading aviation experts will provide information on drone equipment, how they operate, and potential business applications.

The conference sessions will include the following speakers: Scott Pitta, president and CEO of the Association of Professional Drone Pilots, who will talk about drones in the public sector; Chris Huebner, aviation safety inspector, FAA HQ, who will provide information on FAA rules and expected changes, and Sam Knight, geophysicist at Blue Marble in Hallowell, and Jesse Gibbon, UAS project manager from Coutts Brothers in Randolph, who will discuss starting their drone specialty, according to the release.

Business applications include using UAVs to conduct engineering inspections, monitoring power transmission lines and pipelines, and examining the crop health of Maine’s forests and farms in conjunction with infrared technology. Drones also can be utilized in search and rescue operations, aerial photography for land surveys and environmental assessments, advertising, video and film production, and real estate development.

“UAVs can revolutionize the way we do business. Applications for UAVs are varied and growing,” said Abbott, in the release.

Maine is poised to become a major training hub for this expanding $82 billion industry, according to the release.

For a complete list of session topics and speakers and to register, visit uma.edu/uasconference/registration/.

For additional information about the program, contact Abbott at 621-3342 or tabbott@maine.edu.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/drones-topic-of-feb-17-conference-in-augusta/feed/ 0 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:31:44 +0000
Topsham’s Lussier makes dean’s list https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/topshams-lussier-makes-deans-list/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/topshams-lussier-makes-deans-list/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:31:34 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/topshams-lussier-makes-deans-list/ MILTON, Mass. — Kyle Lussier, of Topsham, was named to the 2017 fall semester dean’s list at Curry College.

To qualify for the dean’s list, students must earn a 3.30 grade point average, have no incompletes, and have no grade lower than a “C” for the semester.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/topshams-lussier-makes-deans-list/feed/ 0 Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:31:34 +0000
Report: Steve Bannon subpoenaed by special counsel Robert Mueller https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/report-steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-special-counsel-robert-mueller/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/report-steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-special-counsel-robert-mueller/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 17:14:08 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/report-steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-special-counsel-robert-mueller/ The New York Times reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued a subpoena to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon to testify before a grand jury as part of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The subpoena was reportedly issued last week. Bannon is testifying before the House Intelligence Committee today.

In Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of essentially betraying the nation by meeting with a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

More recently, Bannon has said he was not referring to Trump Jr. but rather to Manafort. Wolff stands by his account.

After the book’s release, Trump quickly disavowed “Sloppy Steve Bannon” and argued extensively there was no evidence of collusion between his presidential campaign and operatives tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bannon apologized a few days later, but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump news site Breitbart News.

Bannon played a critical role in the campaign, the presidential transition and the White House — all during times now under scrutiny from investigators looking for possible evidence of a connection between Trump’s operations and Russia.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/report-steve-bannon-subpoenaed-by-special-counsel-robert-mueller/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/AP18016208334908-e1516105370600.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 19:16:30 +0000
Canada’s oil-sands region now facing 340 billion gallons of toxic sludge https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/canadas-oil-sands-region-now-facing-340-billion-gallons-of-toxic-sludge/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/canadas-oil-sands-region-now-facing-340-billion-gallons-of-toxic-sludge/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 16:44:57 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/canadas-oil-sands-region-now-facing-340-billion-gallons-of-toxic-sludge/ Amid the bogs and forests of northern Alberta, the heart of the Canadian oil patch, lie some of the largest waste dumps of the global energy business.

In the shadow of the pipes and smokestacks that turn oil sands into flowing crude, earthen dams as long as 11 miles encircle lakes of toxic sludge, the byproduct of decades of extraction.

These waste pools, known as tailings ponds, represent perhaps the most serious environmental challenge facing the oil-sands industry. Now, the battle over how quickly to clean them up – and fears about who will pay – are escalating anew.

To howls from environmentalists, the provincial energy regulator granted approval for plans that could push a full cleanup decades into the future to industry giants Suncor Energy and Canadian Natural Resources. Critics say the industry could end up sticking taxpayers with the estimated $22 billion bill.

A scarecrow to deter birds from landing stands in the Suncor Energy tailings pond in the oil sands near Fort McMurray in Alberta. Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

At issue is how, and by extension when, the ponds must be returned to a natural state. The industry is seeking more time to find cheaper ways to do the job. Environmentalists argue the problem has festered for half a century – and the waste keeps piling up.

“Rather than waiting for that silver bullet and continuing to test things out in the lab, we think that the technologies that exist today should be implemented in full force,” said Jodi McNeill, a policy analyst at the Pembina Institute, an energy researcher in Calgary.

Oil-sands companies dispute the notion they’re dragging their feet. Suncor is approaching the cleanup with urgency, investing “significant resources and capital,” spokeswoman Sneh Seetal said. With the help of improved technologies, the company now can treat three times the tailings it produces in a year, helping shrink the backlog that’s built up over decades, she added.

Canadian Natural works to minimize environmental impacts and plans its land use with the end of the mines’ life in mind, spokeswoman Julie Woo said. The company already has reclaimed 934 acres and planted more than 630,000 trees at its Horizon mine site since 2009, she noted.

For decades, tailings – a goopy mix of sand and chemicals – have been pumped into ponds so the solids could settle. But settling has taken longer than engineers expected. Now Alberta’s tailings ponds cover about 97 square miles and hold 340 billion gallons of waste, enough to fill more than a half million Olympic-size swimming pools.

The reservoirs attracted global attention in 2008 when about 1,600 ducks died in a Syncrude Canada pond. Similar, though smaller, incidents have been reported occasionally since then, including the September deaths of more than 100 birds near a Suncor tailings pond.

A tailings pond at a Syncrude Canada mining site near Fort McMurray in Alberta. Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Tailings are treated using a variety of methods in combination, such as chemicals and centrifuges to speed the settling process. The final step, known as water capping, entails pumping the tailings into pits and covering the sludge with water.

Suncor has successfully transformed a tailings pond into a 220-hectare watershed capable of supporting plants and wildlife.

“That land is now a thriving ecosystem,” Seetal said, noting that bears and other animals have been spotted there. The company also has capped another pond with a layer of petroleum coke so vehicles can travel over it.

Still, provincial regulators estimate that cleaning up oil-sands facilities represents a C$27 billion liability, of which the companies have posted only about C$1 billion in security. Environmental groups say the cost could be much higher. The province also holds oil-sands assets against the liability. But McNeill says they are one of the highest-cost methods of producing crude, making them vulnerable to falling oil prices caused by a continued boom in American shale or the rapid adoption of electric cars.

Suncor heard similar concerns amid the oil-price downturn that started in 2014, and the company has shown it can prosper even with lower crude prices, Seetal said.

“We’re in this business for the long haul, and we have a history of being a responsible developer,” she said.

So far, the industry has spent about C$12 billion on treating tailings and C$50 million on research, according to Dan Wicklum, chief executive of Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. In addition to new filtration methods, the industry also is testing injecting carbon dioxide into tailings and running electrical currents through them to help the solids settle out more quickly, he said.

Vancouver-based MGX Minerals Inc. and PurLucid Treatment Solutions Inc. have teamed up to create a technology that filters tailings to produce lithium that could be sold for use in batteries. The Canadian government provided C$8 million to scale up a pilot. One challenge is scaling such technology to handle the massive flow of tailings, Wicklum said. Another is finding a solution that’s economical and energy efficient. “We don’t want to solve one problem and exacerbate another.”

Time is short, according to Pembina’s McNeill, who characterized the tailings ponds as nothing less than an environmental emergency: “After 50 years, we’re still seeing the can kicked down the road.”

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/canadas-oil-sands-region-now-facing-340-billion-gallons-of-toxic-sludge/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/canada-oil-2.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 11:59:54 +0000
Hallowell continuing to clean up after record flooding https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-police-keep-front-street-closed-after-weekend-flooding-persists/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-police-keep-front-street-closed-after-weekend-flooding-persists/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:36:09 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-police-keep-front-street-closed-after-weekend-flooding-persists/ HALLOWELL — Even as icy water slowly receded back into the Kennebec River toward below flood level, local officials and business owners here continued to grapple with questions about what could have been done differently to limit damage to vehicles and buildings suddenly engulfed over the weekend.

The unexpected flooding of Front Street early Sunday morning resulted in more than a dozen destroyed vehicles and thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to businesses.

On Tuesday, a review by the Kennebec Journal found that Kennebec County and local officials didn’t heed a flood warning the National Weather Service had issued hours before the water encroached, signaling an apparent breakdown in communication. Previously, local officials have acted on such warnings by alerting people in low-lying areas.

Mayor Mark Walker said the City Council will look at whether any information should have been provided to residents and businesses, but City Manager Nate Rudy said Tuesday he doesn’t think it’s time yet for that discussion.

“I don’t think it behooves us to have that conversation until everybody is ready to sit down and talk without being distracted,” Rudy said. “We’ll have that conversation when the time is right.”

Rudy said the city will want to meet with its emergency management partners to discuss what happened, but he said that discussion should happen when everyone can review the procedures and protocols in a clear-headed way after the water has receded.

Councilor Maureen Aucoin said the city tries to be as prepared as possible, but when flooding occurs at this time of year rather than the spring, it adds another layer of unpredictability because of the ice and cold.

“Any time an event like this happens that impacts so many and causes so much damage, the city will look at it to see what, if anything, could be done differently,” she said. “We have strict codes for any new development in the flood zone to minimize risk, but unfortunately, much of Hallowell’s downtown is already well developed in an area perpetually prone to flooding.”

Councilors Lynn Irish and Diano Circo said it will be important for the city to review its procedures to make sure it’s prepared moving forward. Circo said he’d continue to review the details of how the city responded and worked with state emergency management officials before suggesting any potential changes.

“The river is going to do what the river’s going to do,” Irish said. She didn’t want to point the finger at anyone or any agency, and she said she’s not sure what anyone could have done to prevent what happened.

Sometime after midnight Sunday morning, ice accumulated downstream — near Farmingdale — and created a dam in the river. In the course of a few minutes, the water rose about 8 feet in downtown Hallowell and Augusta. Basements were filled with icy water, and while no injuries were reported, there was damage to buildings and vehicles in both cities.

At its peak, the Kennebec River in Augusta surged above the 12-foot flood stage, reaching close to 20 feet, which is the third-highest crest on record in Augusta. By Monday morning, it had receded to 14 feet and kept dropping throughout the day.

The river was just below 13 feet at 5 p.m. Tuesday, and National Weather Service meteorologist Margaret Curtis said it should continue to drop and be below flood level by Wednesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Kennebec River on Friday, after first issuing a watch the day before. That information did not make it to Hallowell business owners, residents or local officials, including Chief Eric Nason, of the Hallowell police.

In Augusta, one car was damaged after police spent much of Saturday warning drivers not to park in the flood plain and even ordered two cars to be towed to safety because their owners were away on vacation. Augusta police, who closed Front Street on Saturday ahead of the flood, said Tuesday that Front Street would remain closed to drivers and pedestrians indefinitely.

There was no such warning in Hallowell, and Nason said there was no reason for him to warn business owners and residents because as far as he knew, the area was just under a flood watch.

Kennebec County Emergency Management director Sean Goodwin said he never received the flood warning from the weather service, so he didn’t have any additional information to provide other than the alert he sent out Friday after a conference call with the state’s emergency management agency and the U.S. Coast Guard.

“There’s no way we can predict when an ice jam can happen, nor the severity of the jam,” Goodwin said.

Nason said even if there had a warning of a pending flood, there’s no way to predict that an ice jam would occur, so he isn’t sure how it could’ve been different.

“It was so quick, and there wasn’t any time to respond,” Nason said Monday. “There were no indicators this was going to occur.”

CLEANUP

The parking lot on Front Street near the HydeOut at the Wharf bar, where about 17 vehicles were submerged in ice Sunday, was being cleaned up Tuesday by the city’s Public Works Department and private towing companies.

Rudy said a public works loader broke up a lot of the ice Tuesday, which allowed several of the frozen vehicles to be towed out of the area. The department will continue to monitor the river’s water level and the safety of the parking lot over the coming days, Rudy said.

The Quarry Tap Room’s basement had 3 feet of water Sunday morning and all of the restaurant’s product — beer, wine and liquor, included — was lost.

Co-owner Steve LaChance, who said he met with an insurance adjuster Tuesday, said the damage could be more than $35,000, including product and revenue loss, cleaning, equipment repairs and replacement and structural work. He said the bar area would reopen Wednesday, and the restaurant on Friday, but it will probably have a limited menu until the kitchen can be restocked.

HydeOut owner Wayne Hyde said he couldn’t estimate how much damage his bar sustained because he was still throwing goods away Tuesday afternoon and wasn’t ready to try to calculate what was lost.

Rudy said the owner of the upper Public Utilities Commission lot off Winthrop Street has agreed to let displaced users park there through the remainder of the week. Others in Hallowell also have stepped up to offer support to those affected by Sunday’s flooding.

Leah Sampson, the owner of the Maine House lounge, said on Facebook that “team work makes the dream work” and that all of Hallowell is “in this together.” Many people commented that they’d be willing to help in any way they could.

LOOKING AHEAD

Meanwhile, Hallowell businesses will continue to clean up the damage and prepare to re-open in the next few days. The New England Patriots play in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday afternoon, so the Quarry and HydeOut want to be back in business before then.

Curtis, from the weather service’s office in Gray, said central Maine will get 4 to 8 inches of snow Wednesday, but it shouldn’t affect the flooding or river’s water level.

This weekend, however, the temperature in central Maine is expected to creep into the low to mid-40s, which is something the weather service will watch closely.

“There’s no rain in the forecast, but it’s still something to keep a close eye on,” Curtis said. “It’s really important that people realize that ice can move anytime, so don’t park cars down by the river and stay away.”

Rudy said the city also will be watching the weather this weekend, and he said he hopes the county EMA gives Hallowell advice on assessing the potential for additional flooding.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

jpafundi@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/augusta-police-keep-front-street-closed-after-weekend-flooding-persists/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795251_825370-20180116_flooding_2.jpgAn ice sheet clings to hood of one of two cars pulled out of Front Street parking lot Tuesday in Hallowell.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 19:49:04 +0000
Four officers shot responding to South Carolina domestic violence call https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/4-officers-shot-responding-to-south-carolina-domestic-violence-call/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/4-officers-shot-responding-to-south-carolina-domestic-violence-call/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:01:47 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/4-officers-shot-responding-to-south-carolina-domestic-violence-call/ YORK, S.C. — Four officers, including three deputies, were shot and wounded while responding to a domestic call in South Carolina early Tuesday.

York County sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic violence call about 10 p.m. Monday near York, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said by telephone early Tuesday.

Berry said deputies told him the suspect had left the home by the time officers arrived.

During the initial search for the suspect early Tuesday, a York city officer who had a police dog with him was shot and wounded, Berry said. There was no immediate word on whether the dog was hurt.

As officers later searched some woods, deputies were met by a barrage of gunfire, Berry said, and three deputies were hit. The suspect also was wounded.

The suspect had several “long guns,” Berry said. He did not know the specific type of weapons.

All four officers, as well as the suspect, were taken to Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, Berry said. There was no word on their condition. Sheriff Kevin Tolson was at the hospital Tuesday morning, Berry said.

“We could really use your prayers. We could really use your thoughts,” sheriff’s spokesman Trent Faris said during a news conference. Faris also had no word on the officers’ conditions. He did not immediately respond to messages for additional information.

Berry said a SLED helicopter and agents assisted in the search and investigation. Charlotte-Mecklenburg police also were helping with the case.

The suspect’s name has not been released. Berry said all of the officers involved and the suspect are white men.

York is about 25 miles southwest of Charlotte.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/4-officers-shot-responding-to-south-carolina-domestic-violence-call/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/09/flashers.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 12:38:52 +0000
Japan public TV sends mistaken North Korean missile alert https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/japan-public-tv-sends-mistaken-north-korean-missile-alert/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/japan-public-tv-sends-mistaken-north-korean-missile-alert/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 13:56:20 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/japan-public-tv-sends-mistaken-north-korean-missile-alert/ TOKYO — Japan’s public broadcaster mistakenly sent an alert warning citizens of a North Korean missile launch and urging them to seek immediate shelter, then retracted it minutes later, days after a similar error in Hawaii.

NHK television issued the message Tuesday on its internet and mobile news sites as well as on Twitter, saying North Korea appeared to have fired a missile at Japan. It said the government was telling people to take shelter.

The false alarm came two days after Hawaii’s emergency management department sent a mistaken warning of a North Korean missile attack to mobile phones across the state, triggering panic.

NHK deleted its tweet after several minutes, issued a correction and apologized several times on air. It said a mistake in using the alert system caused the error.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/japan-public-tv-sends-mistaken-north-korean-missile-alert/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1316781_Hawaii_Mistaken_Missile_Ale.jpgIn this Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018 photo provided by Civil Beat, cars drive past a highway sign that says "MISSILE ALERT ERROR THERE IS NO THREAT" on the H-1 Freeway in Honolulu. The state emergency officials announced human error as cause for a statewide announcement of an incoming missile strike alert that was sent to mobile phones.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:58:04 +0000
House panel conducting Russia probe subpoenas Bannon after getting no answers https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/house-intelligence-panel-set-to-interview-steve-bannon-today/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/house-intelligence-panel-set-to-interview-steve-bannon-today/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 12:21:09 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/house-intelligence-panel-set-to-interview-steve-bannon-today/ WASHINGTON — Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon refused to answers questions Tuesday from the House Intelligence Committee about his time working for President Trump, provoking a subpoena from the panel’s Republican chairman.

Bannon walked into a closed-door meeting with House members Tuesday morning and was grilled until Tuesday evening as part of the committee’s investigation into Russian election inference. Lawmakers also wanted answers from him about Trump’s thinking when he fired FBI Director James Comey.

The committee chairman, Devin Nunes of California, issued the subpoena after Bannon refused to answer questions about his time on the presidential transition or his work in the Trump White House, said Nunes spokesman Jack Langer.

A spokeswoman for Bannon did not respond to multiple requests for comment Tuesday afternoon. A White House official said the White House did not seek to exert executive privilege over Bannon – a move that would have barred him from answering certain questions – because it didn’t have to. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

At the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “no one” had encouraged Bannon not to be transparent during questioning but there’s a “process of what that looks like.”

“As with all congressional inquiries touching upon the White House, Congress must consult with the White House prior to obtaining confidential material. This is part of a judicially recognized process that goes back decades,” Sanders told reporters.

The committee also planned to press Bannon on other “executive actions” taken by Trump that have drawn interest from congressional investigators prying into ties between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives, said another person, who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record about the closed-door session and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Those key elements bear directly on the criminal investigation now underway by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia and whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey or by taking other actions to thwart investigators.

The focus on Bannon follows his spectacular fall from power after being quoted in a book saying that he sees the president’s son and others as engaging in “treasonous” behavior for meeting with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

In Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” Bannon accuses Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort of essentially betraying the nation by meeting with a group of Russian lawyers and lobbyists who they believed were ready to offer “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

More recently, Bannon has said he was not referring to Trump Jr. but rather to Manafort. Wolff stands by his account.

After the book’s release, Trump quickly disavowed “Sloppy Steve Bannon” and argued extensively there was no evidence of collusion between his presidential campaign and operatives tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bannon apologized a few days later but was stripped of his job leading the pro-Trump news site Breitbart News.

Bannon last year had largely avoided the scrutiny of congressional investigators, who instead focused much of their energy on trying to secure interviews with top witnesses like Manafort and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

But Bannon played a critical role in the campaign, the presidential transition and the White House – all periods of time now under scrutiny from congressional investigators looking for possible evidence of a connection between Trump’s operations and Russia.

Bannon recently retained the same lawyer being used by former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus and current White House general counsel Don McGahn. Neither Bannon nor his lawyer immediately responded to a request for comment Monday.

The House Intelligence Committee is speeding toward a conclusion of its interviews in its Russia investigation. The final result could be marred by partisan infighting, raising the probability that Republicans on the panel will issue one set of findings and the Democrats will issue their own report.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/house-intelligence-panel-set-to-interview-steve-bannon-today/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1317275_Trump_Russia_Probe_17390.jp_.jpgFormer White House strategist Steve Bannon, left, leaves the House Intelligence Committee meeting where he was interviewed behind closed doors Tuesday.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:30:00 +0000
Our View: Legislature should restore funding for student clinics https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/our-view-legislature-should-restore-clinic-funding/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/our-view-legislature-should-restore-clinic-funding/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:10:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=795113 There is a very good reason to put a public health clinic inside a public school: It’s where the kids are.

Instead of a parent leaving work to take a student out of class to see a doctor or attend a counseling session, school-based clinics provide an efficient way to deliver health care that’s not disruptive to education. Although they are open to every student, they are especially helpful for low-income families that may not have a relationship with a primary care physician. If not for the clinic at school, the child might have to go with no care.

But there is a problem with Maine’s school-based clinics: They have no money.

As the state government went into shutdown last summer, a hastily negotiated compromise budget cut $10 million from the Department of Health and Human Services, and the administration chose to focus on public health programs. The department removed all funding from the 16 school-based clinics.

The Legislature was right to pass a budget and let state government reopen before unnecessary damage was done to the people and businesses that rely on state agencies. But lawmakers should not miss the opportunity to fix this mistake during this legislative session. A bill sponsored by Rep. James Handy, D-Auburn, would do just that, sending $600,000 to fund the school clinics this school year and next.

The clinics have been able to continue operating by billing for services. That’s fine for students who are covered by MaineCare or private insurance; some families, though, earn too much to qualify for the state program but do not have insurance through work. Those families have to come up with a way to pay out of pocket for services their child needs to be able to take full advantage of the public education to which they are entitled.

Cutting public health is a shortsighted way to bridge a budget gap, especially when you consider the long-term consequences of disrupting schoolwork by forgoing care. It’s important to keep the clinics where the kids are.

The Legislature should take the time to fix this problem that was created in haste last summer.

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/our-view-legislature-should-restore-clinic-funding/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/12/1292414_healthcare-chip-2dfa82bc-d098-11e7-9d3a-bcbe2af58c3a-e1513349043146.jpgMon, 15 Jan 2018 18:33:22 +0000
Maine Voices: LePage irresponsible to keep lifesaving drug naloxone from opioid users https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-voices-lepage-irresponsible-to-keep-lifesaving-drug-naloxone-from-opioid-users/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-voices-lepage-irresponsible-to-keep-lifesaving-drug-naloxone-from-opioid-users/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-voices-lepage-irresponsible-to-keep-lifesaving-drug-naloxone-from-opioid-users/ If you are actively using heroin, it is almost a guarantee that you will personally experience an overdose or see one happen. The first time I overdosed, it was on an ordinary night in my own home. I narrowly escaped death, but this wouldn’t be the last time I would overdose before eventually finding recovery.

I understand that this doesn’t make any sense unless you’ve experienced it yourself. It shouldn’t; the disease of addiction isn’t rational. I didn’t choose to become addicted to heroin – weighing the odds of dying from overdose – then decide it was worth the risk. Like thousands of other Mainers, this is where my substance use disorder eventually brought me.

EXPANDING ACCESS TO KEY ANTIDOTE

Last Aug. 3, the Maine Board of Pharmacy unanimously voted to approve rules allowing pharmacists to dispense the lifesaving drug naloxone without a prescription. Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, is a drug capable of reversing the effects of a potentially fatal overdose of heroin, fentanyl and other opioids.

Gov. LePage has consistently opposed increasing access to naloxone, but in 2016, lawmakers approved making naloxone available over the counter, overriding an earlier veto by the governor.

The bill was later amended to clarify some questions from the Board of Pharmacy and again passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming support, becoming law without a signature from Gov. LePage.

Since the Board of Pharmacy unanimously approved the rules allowing pharmacies to dispense naloxone without a prescription – more than five months ago – the bill has been sitting on the governor’s desk, ignored, with no explanation ever being provided for the delay. This has caused confusion among Maine pharmacies on how to properly distribute naloxone, who they can distribute it to and the rules around doing so.

LEPAGE OPPOSES HARM REDUCTION

Gov. LePage has repeatedly cited misinformation and perpetuated stigma in his outspoken opposition to increased naloxone access:

“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” he wrote in 2016. “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”

I agree that naloxone is not the answer to our state’s opiate epidemic, but it saves lives – and you can’t recover if you’re dead.

It’s glaringly evident that the governor doesn’t have an adequate understanding of substance use disorder or how naloxone is actually used.

Even more troubling is that LePage has done little to expand access to treatment. Not only is he not taking action to help addicted Mainers receive adequate treatment, but he also wants to limit access to something that could save lives in the meantime.

Greek philosopher Epictetus once said: “What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.”

While Gov. LePage digs his heels into the ground, touting his ignorance on the issue, people in Maine continue to die at an alarming rate. Every year, hundreds of Mainers die from a drug overdose, and more than 60,000 people die each year nationally.

In Maine, someone dies every day, on average, from a drug-related overdose. More disturbing, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy, is that accidental deaths from drug overdoses rose by 577 percent between 2000 and 2015.

GIVE FAMILIES CHANCE TO RECOVER

In recent years, naloxone has been successfully used thousands of times in Maine to revive people suffering from an overdose. Increased access has prevented countless deaths in our communities and allowed those suffering from addiction an opportunity to recover.

What concerns me most is that our governor feels that his outdated and repeatedly disproven opinions on addiction give him the right to deny some of us the chance to recover – or to deny parents a chance at potentially saving their child’s life.

It’s irresponsible for our governor to ignore the people and their elected officials – creating barriers for private citizens to practice harm reduction in their own homes and with their own money.

Having experienced multiple heroin overdoses of my own before I found recovery, I can tell you that recovery is possible – but, in Maine, only if you’re lucky enough to survive.

 

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-voices-lepage-irresponsible-to-keep-lifesaving-drug-naloxone-from-opioid-users/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/857123_616904_20140205_opiate_ov_2-e1465207727418.jpgNOTE: THIS IS NOT NARCAN. Narcan is trademarked naloxone. This photo taken on Wednesday February 5, 2014 shows a emergency opiate overdose kit at the MaineGeneral Harm Reduction program office in Augusta. The cone-shaped adapter is placed in the victim's nose to turn the liquid naloxone into a spray that helps the person start breathing again.Mon, 15 Jan 2018 22:57:12 +0000
Maine bill targets addiction among homeless population https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-bill-targets-addiction-among-homeless-population/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-bill-targets-addiction-among-homeless-population/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-bill-targets-addiction-among-homeless-population/ A Westbrook lawmaker is proposing a pilot project that would provide drug treatment and emergency housing to homeless people struggling with addiction in response to unprecedented overdose deaths in Maine.

Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook, said he agreed to introduce the bill after being approached by representatives of Preble Street, the nonprofit that provides services to Portland’s homeless population. The bill, which will have a public hearing in Augusta this week, would direct Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services to create a program offering medication-assisted treatment – such as methadone or Suboxone – and access to “stable housing” for up to 50 people.

It is among a slew of bills under consideration by lawmakers seeking to address an opiate addiction crisis that is killing, on average, more than one Mainer per day.

“We keep talking about it but clearly we are not doing enough,” said Gattine. “This bill seeks to address the problem the people at Preble Street brought to me, but it is a statewide problem.”

Gattine said the pilot project would focus initially on one urban and one rural area in recognition of the connection between substance abuse and homelessness throughout Maine.

Maine recorded 376 drug overdose deaths in 2016 – more than double the number just three years earlier – and was on a similar pace for 2017 as of midyear. The Maine Attorney General’s Office is still compiling the overdose statistics for all of 2017.

Access to drug treatment in Maine is limited, especially for those without insurance or the means to pay out-of-pocket. Faced with a surge in drug overdoses at their downtown facility, Preble Street staff members have become de facto first responders to attempt to revive individuals suffering from the deadly effects of opiate overdose.

Last year, staff at the nonprofit had to use the overdose reversal drug naloxone or take other emergency steps, on average, once every eight days for overdoses.

“For us, it is as real and as tragic as it comes,” Preble Street executive director Mark Swann said in a statement. “Every day – every single day – people plead with us for housing and treatment options. And every day – every single day – we can barely offer them even a glimmer of hope.”

Gattine, who co-chairs the budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, acknowledged that the pilot project envisioned in his bill would require funding. But he said the bill’s bipartisan list of co-sponsors – six Democrats and four Republicans – is a start of coalition building needed to address the opioid crisis.

The bill would also require cooperation from Maine DHHS, which Gattine said has been slow to implement other drug treatment initiatives approved by the Legislature.

“As legislators, we have to do our jobs by moving things forward,” Gattine said. “But I also think we have to monitor the department and continue to pressure them to do what they need to do.”

The Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee is slated to hold a public hearing on the bill, L.D. 1711, at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 791-6312 or at:

kmiller@mainetoday.com

Twitter: KevinMillerPPH

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-bill-targets-addiction-among-homeless-population/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/344788-20131021_Trafficking002.jpgMark Swann, executive director of Preble Street: “We started hearing from our clients, mostly young women and girls, about horrific events in their lives, stories of being lured and coerced into prostitution, having no choice, being forced to trade their bodies for drugs and money.”Tue, 16 Jan 2018 00:03:24 +0000
China disrupts ecomaine and other recyclers with ‘foreign garbage’ ban https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/china-disrupts-ecomaine-and-other-recyclers-with-foreign-garbage-ban/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/china-disrupts-ecomaine-and-other-recyclers-with-foreign-garbage-ban/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/china-disrupts-ecomaine-and-other-recyclers-with-foreign-garbage-ban/ China has prompted “a crisis in the recycling world” with its decision to no longer accept what its regulators call “foreign garbage” such as paper contaminated with pizza grease.

The action by China, long known for its willingness to import and repurpose recyclables from the United States and elsewhere, is being felt in Maine and around the nation.

“They put the hammer down,” said Kevin Roche, chief executive officer of ecomaine, the nonprofit that handles recyclables for about a third of Maine’s population. Although recyclers are feeling the effects of China’s ban on 24 kinds of recyclable materials, nothing has changed in curbside pickup, and Mainers themselves are unlikely to see any immediate impact.

The ban took effect Jan. 1, but it was announced in advance and the market preemptively adjusted last year. Ecomaine and other recycling services began to notice repercussions late last summer – until then, China had been accepting about half the world’s unwanted recyclables. Nationwide, bales of materials have been stacking up in recycling facilities, packaged to go but with no one willing to receive them.

“I would label it as a crisis in the recycling world,” Roche said.

But Maine has been lucky. The worst that’s happened to date, recyclers said, is that in some cases, bales of mixed paper (what ecomaine calls residential paper pack) or mixed plastics sit for longer, waiting for buyers.

Bales of paper sit outside ecomaine last week as the recycling facility in Portland awaits a buyer for the material. Dumping the recyclables in a landfill is a last resort if a buyer can’t be found. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

Or nonbuyers, as the case may be. Bales of mixed paper that ecomaine had been getting $51 a ton for last year are now worthless. “Basically we are having to either give it away or having to pay to have it moved,” said ecomaine spokeswoman Lisa Wolff.

“It is a big challenge, obviously,” said Joseph Fusco, a vice president at Casella Waste Systems, which handles about 120,000 tons of recyclable materials annually from customers throughout Maine. “Material is moving. The issue is, at what price does it move?”

Moving recycling means sending it to a mill where it can be broken down and processed into usable materials. For ecomaine, that has meant forging some new relationships with brokers and buyers, some domestically in New York and Massachusetts, and some internationally, in Canada, India and Indonesia.

“There is no money in mixed paper,” said Joyce Levesque, the manager at Coastal Recycling, a small nonprofit that handles recycling for five towns Down East, including Hancock and Sullivan. Coastal Recycling works more with Canadian plants or occasionally mills in Massachusetts than it does with China. But as the demand from China drops, supplies stack up worldwide, lowering prices everywhere.

“We got $23 a ton and we paid $900 in freight,” Levesque said. At those rates, Levesque wonders, “Should we really be sending it?”

Roche’s perspective is that low prices or not, landfills should be a “last resort.”

“We feel, even if it is not earning any money, it is still more valuable than storing these future resources in a landfill,” he said.

ACCUSTOMED TO JUGGLING

Victor Horton of the Maine Resource Recovery Association, which works with 162 Maine towns and cities on waste management and recycling, said the Chinese regulations have made it harder for the Bangor-based nonprofit to find buyers for plastics like yogurt and salad containers, which almost always contain some food contamination. Horton said they’re making bales of them until they can find buyers.

Horton, like Roche, said fluctuation in the recycling business is nothing new. He has a list of about 50 brokers he works with regularly, who help him find homes for everything from mixed paper to rigid plastics (like say, dolls). Scrap materials have been one of America’s biggest exports to China; many of those shipping containers that arrive filled with consumer goods from China travel back to Asia packed with recyclables.

But recyclables handled by the Maine Resource Recovery Association are as likely to end up in processing plants in Ontario as they are China, Horton said. When a processing plant opened in Baltimore, recyclers rejoiced, he said.

“We were all excited. We were getting paid $60 a ton (for junk plastic),” he said. But then that plant closed abruptly.

In short, Horton is accustomed to juggling.

“This may blow over,” he said.

It’s a worldwide problem, but Horton speculates that politics as much as environmentalism may be playing into the Chinese decision.

“There is the official word, and then the unofficial political reason that they don’t like the way (President) Trump acts,” Horton said. “Some people say China has pulled some stuff on us because they don’t like the way our politics work. Is it that really the truth or did someone not get bribed the right way? All I know is, they are a lot more fussy.”

This isn’t the first time that China has cracked down on standards for recyclables. A Chinese policy called the Green Fence was implemented in 2013 to reduce the amount of food and trash that it imported. But the new Chinese rules include banning imports of 24 kinds of waste and limiting the amount of contamination levels in mixed paper it receives to 1 percent.

The industry standard in America is usually around 15 percent, ecomaine said. Mainers tend to be better about cleaning their recyclables before tossing them to the curb, and thus the average rate of contamination in the bales of residential paper pack that ecomaine produces for sale ranges between 3 percent and 5 percent, the nonprofit said. But even if every household scrubbed its recyclables before putting them curbside, they might not meet the new Chinese standard.

On the one hand, higher environmental standards are good for China, a country that struggles with air and water quality.

“I was kind of amazed at what levels of contamination they would accept,” Roche said.

On the other, that makes it hard to do business with China. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries has said it will be impossible for most recyclers to meet those standards, and in December, the institute appealed to the World Trade Organization, citing concerns that China’s rules “will lead to extensive disruptions in global supply chains.”

STILL SOME RECYCLING POSITIVES

From Roche’s perspective, it’s not fair to blame China’s shift entirely. “It’s a tough market,” he said. “I don’t think that is the only reason. You can’t put it all on China.”

Furthermore, recyclers are coming off what he called “a very long stretch of a very strong market.”

Some sectors, such as corrugated cardboard, continue to be strong, not just for ecomaine but for other recyclers such as the Maine Resource Recovery Association.

Ecomaine budgets conservatively for just these kinds of troughs, Roche said, and balances deficits with electricity generation (it incinerates 180,000 tons of garbage annually) and tipping fees.

His rule for his business?

“If you don’t like what you see today, just wait a few minutes,” he said.

Mary Pols can be contacted at 791-6456 or at:

mpols@pressherald.com

Twitter: MaryPols

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/china-disrupts-ecomaine-and-other-recyclers-with-foreign-garbage-ban/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/1317208_384180-20180109_ecomaine_1.jpgHector Reinos, left, and Arturo Santos remove plastics from a conveyor of paper to be recycled at ecomaine in Portland last week. China instituted a ban on imports of 24 kinds of recyclable materials starting Jan. 1, shrinking a major market for recyclables from the U.S.Tue, 16 Jan 2018 06:57:25 +0000
Republicans decry timing of attorney general’s bill to expand abortion access https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/republicans-decry-timing-of-attorney-generals-bill-to-expand-abortion-access/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/republicans-decry-timing-of-attorney-generals-bill-to-expand-abortion-access/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=795194 Republican lawmakers are suggesting that Maine Attorney General Janet Mills resign over a bill she has pushed forward that would allow nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants to perform abortions.

The bill is raising the hackles of anti-abortion conservatives, but it could also bolster Mills’ image as a defender of abortion rights as she seeks the Democratic Party’s nomination to be its candidate for governor in a crowded primary field.

Mills has said the bill is about expanding access to abortion services in rural Maine, where it’s difficult for a woman to find a doctor who will perform the procedure, and was prompted by a federal lawsuit involving a northern Maine woman who was denied a five-pill abortion treatment because there was no doctor available to write the prescription for the drugs. The suit against Mill’s office and district attorneys for the state’s 16 counties challenges Maine’s 40-year-old law that authorizes only a medical doctor to perform an abortion.

Some Republican lawmakers also have argued that Mills’ bill shouldn’t even be before the Legislature because the state constitution stipulates that the second half of any legislative session should be confined to emergency matters, state financial issues or bills that are introduced by the governor.

Rep. Ellie Espling, R-New Gloucester, said Monday that she and other lawmakers who consider themselves “pro-life” would not have voted to allow the bill, sponsored by Rep. Joyce McCreight, D-Harpswell, to move forward. But lawmakers have a longstanding practice of allowing bills from the state’s constitutional offices to move ahead without the approval of the Legislature’s governing body, the Legislative Council. Espling said Mills’ bill was given a “free pass.”

The 10-member council is made up of the top party officers, including minority and majority leaders in the House and Senate, the speaker of the House and the president of the state Senate.

Espling questions how an abortion bill is germane to the Attorney General’s Office.

“In an election year it appears as though Janet Mills is, in effect, using the Office of the Attorney General to help her pander to far-left Democrat primary voters by submitting legislation that has very little to do with her department and, frankly, little chance of ever becoming law,” Espling wrote in a recent opinion column in the Press Herald.

“If she can’t compartmentalize and separate being Maine’s attorney general from being a candidate for governor, she should follow the lead of former DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew, who resigned to focus solely on her gubernatorial campaign.”

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and civil liberties groups, including the ACLU of Maine, brought the suit that challenges Maine’s 1979 law requiring that abortions be performed only by doctors in a complaint filed in September in U.S. District Court in Portland.

“My personal history is consistently pro-choice, I think everybody knows that,” Mills said in an interview Monday. “My job as attorney general is both to defend the state laws whenever they are called into question or attacked as being unconstitutional, that’s in the state law, but my job is also to pursue public policies that would further the public good for the people of Maine.”

Mills said she didn’t choose the timing of the federal lawsuit, which came after the Legislature had adjourned in 2017, and that she would have proposed a law change sooner had she been made aware of the issue.

“The allegations (in the lawsuit) raise serious public policy questions that I think can and should be addressed by lawmakers with full public input, rather than dealt with in a long, drawn-out battle in federal court,” Mills said. She noted that her office also was defending another state law in federal court that prohibits anti-abortion protesters from “yelling and screaming outside a clinic so loudly as to interfere with the provision of health care.”

Most abortions in Maine are done at three women’s health centers: Planned Parenthood in Portland and clinics in Augusta and Bangor. Overall, abortion rates have declined dramatically in the U.S. and Maine. Despite Maine’s relatively stable population, 1,836 abortions were performed in the state in 2015, compared with 2,653 in 2005, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health experts cite improved birth-control methods as one of the major factors in declining abortion rates.

“It’s about access, especially in rural areas,” Mills wrote in an email to the Press Herald responding to questions about the bill this month. “The advent of medication abortion, for instance, makes the presence of a physician generally unnecessary. Other states recognize that it is within the scope of practice of advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform medical abortions, particularly in the first trimester.”

Many, including the ACLU of Maine, see the lawsuit as a first step in overturning similar laws in 41 other states that only allow doctors to perform abortions.

The bill, L.D. 1763, has not yet been referred to a legislative committee for a public hearing, but it faces a difficult path forward in a near-evenly divided Legislature. Republicans hold a one-seat majority in the Senate and Democrats hold a slight majority of 74 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

sthistle@pressherald.com

Twitter: thisdog

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/republicans-decry-timing-of-attorney-generals-bill-to-expand-abortion-access/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/11/1293457_78073-scam-jjanetmills_poin.jpgAttorney General Janet Mills says not to trust calls you get out of the blue promising winnings, offering help or threatening that IRS agents will arrest you if you don't pay. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Tue, 16 Jan 2018 10:37:23 +0000
Today’s editorial cartoon https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/todays-editorial-cartoon-1509/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/todays-editorial-cartoon-1509/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=795064 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/todays-editorial-cartoon-1509/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/01/795064_846873-1-12-Walmart-Severan.jpgMon, 15 Jan 2018 17:11:10 +0000 Maine Compass: Narcan not a cure, but it saves lives https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-compass-narcan-not-a-cure-but-it-saves-lives/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-compass-narcan-not-a-cure-but-it-saves-lives/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:00:00 +0000 http://www.centralmaine.com/?p=795063 If you are actively using heroin, it is almost a guarantee that you will personally experience an overdose or see one happen. The first time I overdosed, it was on an ordinary night in my own home. I narrowly escaped death, but this wouldn’t be the last time I would overdose before eventually finding recovery.

I understand that this doesn’t make any sense unless you’ve experienced it yourself. It shouldn’t; the disease of addiction isn’t rational. I didn’t choose to become addicted to heroin — weighing the odds of dying from overdose — then decide it was worth the risk. Like thousands of other Mainers, this is where my substance use disorder eventually brought me.

EXPANDING ACCESS TO KEY ANTIDOTE

Last Aug. 3, the Maine Board of Pharmacy unanimously voted to approve rules allowing pharmacists to dispense the life-saving drug naloxone without a prescription. Naloxone, commonly known as Narcan, is a drug capable of reversing the effects of a potentially fatal overdose of heroin, fentanyl and other opioids.

Gov. Paul LePage has consistently opposed increasing access to naloxone, but in 2016 lawmakers approved making naloxone available over the counter, overriding an earlier veto by the governor.

The bill was later amended to clarify some questions from the Board of Pharmacy and again passed both the House and Senate with overwhelming support, becoming law without a signature from Gov. LePage.

Since the Board of Pharmacy unanimously approved the rules allowing pharmacies to dispense naloxone without a prescription — more than five months ago — the bill has been sitting on the governor’s desk, ignored, with no explanation ever being provided for the delay. This has caused confusion among Maine pharmacies on how to properly distribute naloxone, who they can distribute it to and the rules around doing so.

LEPAGE OPPOSES HARM REDUCTION

Gov. LePage has repeatedly cited misinformation and perpetuated stigma in his outspoken opposition to increased naloxone access:

“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” he wrote in 2016. “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”

I agree that naloxone is not the answer to our state’s opiate epidemic, but it saves lives — and you can’t recover if you’re dead.

It’s glaringly evident that the governor doesn’t have an adequate understanding of substance use disorder or how naloxone is actually used.

Even more troubling is that LePage has done little to expand access to treatment. Not only is he not taking action to help addicted Mainers receive adequate treatment, but he also wants to limit access to something that could save lives in the meantime.

Greek philosopher Epictetus once said: “What is the first business of one who practices philosophy? To get rid of self-conceit. For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.”

While Gov. LePage digs his heels into the ground, touting his ignorance on the issue, people in Maine continue to die at an alarming rate. Every year hundreds of Mainers die from a drug overdose, and more than 60,000 people die each year nationally.

Every day someone in Maine dies from a drug-related overdose. More disturbing, according to the Maine Center for Economic Policy, accidental deaths from drug overdoses rose by 577 percent between 2000 and 2015.

GIVE FAMILIES CHANCE TO RECOVER

In recent years, naloxone has been successfully used thousands of times in Maine to revive people suffering from an overdose. Increased access has prevented countless deaths in our communities and allowed those suffering from addiction an opportunity to recover.

What concerns me most is that our governor feels that his outdated and repeatedly disproven opinions on addiction give him the right to deny some of us the chance to recover — or to deny parents a chance at potentially saving their child’s life.

It’s irresponsible for our governor to ignore the people and their elected officials — creating barriers for private citizens to practice harm reduction in their own homes and with their own money.

Having experienced multiple heroin overdoses of my own before I found recovery, I can tell you that recovery is possible — but, in Maine, only if you’re lucky enough to survive.

Seth Blais of Portland is an advocate, a writer, a person in recovery, a marketing professional and a volunteer recovery coach for several local municipalities. He can be contacted on Facebook or at: sethblais.com

]]>
https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/01/16/maine-compass-narcan-not-a-cure-but-it-saves-lives/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/07/narcan-e1500996274381.jpgTue, 16 Jan 2018 11:16:14 +0000