News – Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel https://www.centralmaine.com Features news from the Kennebec Journal of Augusta, Maine and Morning Sentinel of Waterville, Maine. Sun, 23 Sep 2018 12:34:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 J.P. Devine: Does Kavanaugh have a dog? https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/does-kavanaugh-have-a-dog/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/does-kavanaugh-have-a-dog/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1044218 While waiting for my lacerated finger to heal and my soup to warm up, I’ve taken to watching snippets of the Senate’s interrogation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, 45’s choice to fill the seat of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Judge Kavanaugh’s Wikipedia playbill describes him as being a pit bull of Republican politics (as an attorney he worked for bigger pit bull Ken Starr) and “played a lead role in drafting the Starr Report, which urged the impeachment of President Clinton.”

I’m afraid that this is all far above the pay grade of a writer who’s ingesting 2,000 milligrams of Cephalexin antibiotic pills a day with daily afternoon decaf, nonfat, no-whip mocha.

Seen through the medicated fog, Judge Brett appears well mannered and neatly attired, but, of course, he’s a nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court, and like major award show nominees and felons appearing before judges in night court, it is important, as my mother always said, to “make a nice appearance.”

In this case, nominees know that once confirmed, they’re going to be on the cover of six magazines come Friday, all the talk shows and late night comedy spots, and then postcards, Christmas cards, and eventually gift calendars.

I see that he has a nice haircut, not that that means anything. Richard Nixon was always well groomed, and his bad-boy Vice President Spiro Agnew always looked spiffy.

I can’t see Kavanaugh’s nails from here, but he probably had them done in the Senate barber shop before the hearing instead of in one of those shops at Walmart or at the mall.

However, the nice thing about the shop at Walmart is you can pick up personal items there afterwards, like toothpaste and toilet paper, current magazines and cigarettes.

Aha! I woke up just in time to see them return from lunch. I wonder where they dined? Is there an Applebees or Olive Garden nearby?

I get the feeling, just by looking at him, that Judge Kavanaugh is probably a fussy diner, the kind of fella that sends the soup back if it’s not hot.

I’ll bet they had lunch in the Senate dining room. That’s kind of a tradition.

I’m told that the food there is always good. The soup du jour is the traditional navy bean soup.

My brother-in-law, the late Maine state Sen. and Waterville Mayor Cyril M. Joly, had lunch there when he worked for the late Richard Nixon, and he said it was super.

As a favor for my readers, here are the ingredients for that famous bean soup:

2 pounds dried navy beans

4 quarts hot water

1 1/2 pounds smoked ham hocks

1 onion, chopped

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste

The ham hocks are a must.

I see Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, is there. I always liked him. Diane Feinstein, of course, is present, and that good old Southern boy (not the one 45 called “mentally retarded dumb Southerner” — that was Jeff Sessions) Lindsay Graham, who is hoping he’ll be up for the next vacancy.

Dick Durbin, who once called Judge Kavanaugh the “Forrest Gump of Republican politics,” is here, and there’s Kamala Harris, who keeps picking at Kavanaugh’s failure to answer fast enough for her.

The chairman of this inquisition is, of course, Chuck Grassley, the old Iowa corn farmer who looks like he just stepped out of a Willa Cather novel.

The questions all seemed to cover the salient points required for nomination, but I wish they would have asked more personal questions that would give us a better idea of who he is.

1. Nobody asked if he has a dog. That’s primo in my opinion. What kind of dog? Does he walk it himself and what’s its name? Maybe he likes cats. That would lose my vote, but maybe not our Senator Collins. I suspect she’s a cat person.

2. Does he favor briefs or boxer undershorts? That tells me a lot about a fella.

3. Does he drink, and what? I need to know that right off.

At any rate, given the political climate at the moment, the judge looks like a shoo-in. Oh well, it’s time for my next Cephalexin and Band-Aid change. Soup for dinner?

Uh-oh! Wait a minute. The judge is being paged for a phone call. Who is Professor Christine Blasey Ford? Hang up, Judge; hang up. It’s a trick call.

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/does-kavanaugh-have-a-dog/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2017/08/WEB-JP-color.jpg Sat, 22 Sep 2018 13:26:51 +0000
Alan Caron: Longtime builder of coalitions first had to rebuild himself https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/alan-caron-longtime-builder-of-coalitions-first-had-to-rebuild-himself/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/alan-caron-longtime-builder-of-coalitions-first-had-to-rebuild-himself/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1044766 FREEPORT — He’d heard his mother crying behind the closed bedroom door one too many times. She had had a child out of wedlock 18 years earlier. The church had excommunicated her.

He was the child.

Several of his friends had private grievances of their own with the Catholic clergy of Waterville, then a powerful and not entirely accountable force in the Franco-American community they belonged to. They decided to do something about it, something that would set Alan Caron’s life back before it had really begun.

“We went off to every Catholic church and took all of the silk robes of the priests in an attempt to disrobe or defrock them,” Caron recalls, 49 years later. “They had no monetary value – if we were interested in money we would have been taking other things. But as a political statement, it was a dismal failure.”

A few days later, they’d repacked the stolen items so they could be returned, Caron says, when the police raided his apartment. He’d wind up serving eight months in prison, no great start in life for a ninth-grade dropout from a struggling family who’d already suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Yet he turned his life around, became a community organizer, earned a graduate degree from Harvard, helped an upstart politician rise to the Maine House, the state Senate and the United States Congress, and became one of the state’s most sought-after political strategists of the early 1990s. He helped stop the widening of the Maine Turnpike, discrimination against Portland’s gays and lesbians, and abuses by prison administrators. He brought the Brookings Institution to Maine to study how to transform the economy and became a voice for postpartisan politics as an informal campaign adviser to Angus King and as a columnist in this newspaper.

Now Caron, who’ll turn 67 this week, is one of two independent candidates for governor in this year’s four-way contest, the first bid for office of a man who has helped advise so many campaigns. His priorities include expanding Medicaid and broadband internet access; fostering energy independence via renewable technologies; supporting small manufacturers and other entrepreneurs who are trying to grow Maine businesses; offering two years of no-cost higher education to students who stay in Maine; and improving the efficiency of government. The only poll of the race so far, released last month, placed him last among the candidates, with only 2.6 percent of the vote, far behind Republican Shawn Moody and Democrat Janet Mills.

“I’m somebody who has survived and lifted myself out of a series of accidents, bad luck and bad choices,” Caron says. “And the skills that you develop when you have been at the bottom looking up and climbed your way out I think are exactly the kind of skills that will be useful for Maine right now, because in a sense we have to climb our way out of a lot of accidents, bad luck and bad choices.”

A childhood accident

Alan Reginald Caron was born Sept. 26, 1951, at Sisters Hospital in Waterville, where his mother, Lucille Labbe, had been born. Lucille had two older children from a previous marriage and, when Alan was 19 months old, married Hank Caron, who adopted his stepson. They lived in an apartment on the city’s South End, then a solidly Franco-American neighborhood of millworkers and home to most of Caron’s aunts and uncles.

His mother worked multiple jobs – short-order cook, house cleaner, stitcher of cuffs at the Hathaway shirt factory – and was the first in her family to speak English. His stepfather was a big band jazz musician who had played for Sam Donahue in the 1940s, before alcoholism derailed his career and nearly killed him when Alan was in elementary school.

His sister married when Alan was 8, and his brother was working full time the following year. “And my father was drinking or gone on the road,” he adds. “I grew up having to be really self-sufficient.”

Caron at his first communion with his mother, Lucille, who worked as a short-order cook, house cleaner and stitcher. Photo courtesy of Alan Caron

In the summer of 1962 his neighborhood friends hung a rope “Tarzan swing” from the second-floor outdoor stairwell of a triple-decker apartment building. It let go, dropping 10-year-old Alan to the pavement, face first, knocking him unconscious and injuring his brain. Thereafter he had seizures and blackouts and would often wake up on the ground with friends or bystanders trying to restrain him. He says doctors medicated him heavily – anti-seizure medication “and other stuff.” When he was 12, a doctor gave him devastating news.

“He looked at me and he said, ‘You will never be able to work. You should never exert yourself. You will never drive. And I highly recommend that you don’t get married, because it could be hereditary,’ ” Caron says. “There’s probably nothing worse you can say to a pre-teen than that you have no future, and I incorporated the idea that I had none.” Between the drugs and the injury, his school performance collapsed, despite the efforts of teachers and his principal. “By the time I got to the ninth grade, it was senseless to continue.” He dropped out and fell into destructive behavior.

At age 15, the seizures stopped – his brain had apparently healed itself – but Caron says the doctors kept him on heavy medications, dissuading him from dropping them when he would bring it up. He continued his downward spiral. “I did drugs. I did rock ‘n’ roll. I got in trouble with the law,” he says. “Everything was crazy. Everything was an expression of anger.”

Then he and his friends got caught with the stolen vestments. He got probation, married another high school dropout, had two kids and worked as a carpenter. In the fall of 1971 he was charged with stealing cameras, jewelry and a gun – falsely, he says – and the case was promptly dismissed. But Caron was arrested four days later, brought before the same judge, and charged with violating his probation for the incident.

Alan Caron pauses outside the Waterville apartment building where he grew up. He had a brain injury when he was 10 after falling from a “Tarzan swing” he and his friends hung from a second-floor outdoor stairwell. The seizures stopped five years later, but the fall began a downward spiral that led him to drop out of high school. He’d later gain notoriety as the “dropout at Harvard” after being accepted to the school’s Master’s in Public Administration program. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

The next day he was delivered to the prison in Windham to begin a one-to-three-year sentence. He spent eight months there, and would later report witnessing staff using prison labor to refurbish their own furniture, repair their cars, or cut hay and firewood on their property.

Caron had a knack for organizing. A bassist, he formed a prison rock band and persuaded the chaplain to let them hold a talent show. The production – they played the Rolling Stones’ “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” – led the men to organize an inmates’ council, which published a mimeographed newsletter and aired grievances with administrators. It was shut down months later in the aftermath of a minor riot.

Caron, who was by then on work release, says he was the one who got word of the uprising to the press, surreptitiously placing a phone call from his work site to Pine Tree Legal Assistance, the federally funded organization that represented poor plaintiffs. Months later he and many of his friends, having finished their sentences, gathered at Pine Tree’s Portland offices to organize a class-action lawsuit to stop the use of unpaid labor. Instead they founded a statewide organization to advocate for prisoners’ rights and prison reform, the Statewide Correctional Alliance for Reform, or SCAR. Caron was its president.

A brush with violent radicals

“The sources of crime are rooted in poverty, unemployment, underemployment, competitiveness and pressure,” Caron told the Maine Sunday Telegram in 1974. “People get drunk and commit crimes. But why do people drink? Maybe because they work in fish factories 40 hours a week.” SCAR, he promised, was going to change the system.

The tiny organization had early successes and favorable press. It introduced legislation to guarantee working prisoners received the minimum wage and to allow conjugal visits for married prisoners, and its members testified at legislative and sentencing hearings and organized large outdoor rock concerts to raise money at a farm in Bowdoinham intended to be a future halfway house. Their bills were tabled, but legislators asked Gov. Ken Curtis to set up a task force to investigate prison conditions, to which Caron was appointed. Five months after forming, the group claimed hundreds of members, many of whom were idealistic young people who had never been imprisoned themselves. Caron helped build alliances with progressive legislators and funding relationships with the United Way of Greater Portland, the Roman Catholic Church and the Quakers.

Alan Caron, right, in 1973. Around this time, Caron created an advocacy group for prisoners’ rights and reform called SCAR. It wasn’t long before a rogue faction took shape, led by a hardened convict by the name of Raymond Levasseur. Photo courtesy of Alan Caron

But SCAR had a dark side, a faction led by a hardened convict named Raymond Levasseur, whose own Augusta-based prisoner advocacy group merged with Caron’s in the middle of 1973. With Cameron Bishop, a federal fugitive from the Weather Underground, Levasseur began building an underground guerrilla cell and opened a Maoist bookshop, Red Star North, at 865 Congress St. in Portland. Levasseur’s militancy only increased in August 1974, when the Portland Police Department revealed it had arrested one of its patrolmen and admitted him to a psychiatric ward because, over meetings and target practices, he had been trying to recruit fellow officers into a death squad that would kill ex-convicts and dispose of them outside the city. The group started to shatter.

“We were all hippie dippies, peace and love, but he was hard-edge but very, very intelligent,” Caron recalls. “He slowly, systematically took things over and tried to oust me, brutally attacked and threatened me. I lived in the real danger of being killed for standing up to those guys.”

In March 1975, Levasseur and Bishop were arrested in a Rhode Island bank’s parking lot minutes ahead of an armored truck’s arrival, sitting in a car full of guns. Levasseur posted $31,000 bail with the help of a SCAR girlfriend’s trust fund and went underground. Subsequently SCAR’s founding vice president, Richard J. Picariello, was charged with helping bomb a jet at Boston Logan and a Massachusetts courthouse. At Picariello’s trial, Caron testified that he had talked another SCAR member, Joseph Aceto, out of a plan to assassinate Curtis, a federal judge and others, The Associated Press reported at the time.

SCAR never recovered from the adverse publicity, and the group disbanded in April 1976. Caron led a series of study groups trying to build a “Maine Poor and Working People’s Party,” but attendees told University of Massachusetts Amherst researcher Daniel Chard, who wrote his 2011 history master’s thesis on SCAR, that these were “often incredibly boring and dogmatic,” and the effort fizzled.

Community organizer

Around this time, Caron says, he spurned his doctors’ advice, weaned himself off his medications and began pulling himself together.

“What happened to me since then is that anger gave way over time to other things, affection, all the good stuff,” he recalls. “All these things had to be rediscovered. I had to leave the old circles of friends, because they were destructive. I had this picture on my desk of me at 8 years old, and I knew I had to get back to that kid, I had to remember who I was and go back there, before the (Tarzan) swing, strip it all away.”

He started a newspaper, the Maine Issue, aimed at organizing working people and forming an organization to effect social change. It failed after a few months, leaving him with a new typesetting machine and payments on the $10,000 he borrowed to purchase it. To support his family – he was raising his two kids alone in an apartment above the business – he started a graphics business that, amazingly, grew quickly before it, too, collapsed in 1980. “We had three graphic artists, printing presses, the whole thing, and we had no idea what we were doing,” he says. “But it was an important transition for me, from full-time activist to someone who had to have a business plan.”

Not long thereafter, Caron walked into the annual meeting of the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Association, just around the corner from his building. Members were complaining about the kids on the streets. “I went up and said, ‘I was one of those kids on other streets. I think I can help here,’ ” he recalls. A year later he was the group’s president.

The association grew rapidly, “from six people around a kitchen table” to 600 members and five staffers in just three years. It won a federal grant to install solar panels on homes, administered a heating fuel club to buy in bulk, and started a housing co-op. “He knew how to find the right allies, to see the fundamentals of what was possible, to break down the challenges into fundamental steps and build an organization based on his values and needs,” says former U.S. Rep. Tom Andrews, who served on the association’s board. “He was very good at all that.”

His life completely turned around. Gov. Joe Brennan, a Munjoy Hill native himself, pardoned him in 1982. “I pardoned a good number of people who made not such smart decisions when they were very young, and I’m proud of those, even when it hurt me in the future campaigns,” Brennan says. “I thought it made sense to give people a second chance.”

In 1983 Caron applied to the Master’s in Public Administration program at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. After contentious debate within the admissions committee, he was accepted, becoming the first person ever admitted to the one-year program – where half the students already had at least one graduate degree – without a college diploma. He gained notoriety as the “dropout at Harvard” and was featured on the “CBS Morning News.”

He borrowed $20,000, moved to Cambridge with his two teenagers and adjusted to an academic environment. “In the past I’ve been guilty of doing too much acting and not enough planning,” he told the Press Herald that winter. “Here many of the people are just the opposite – brilliant people, but with theories that my practical experience tells me are really off the wall.” He also said Harvard had given him “time to reflect” about what he wanted to do next.

The go-to political strategist

Caron graduated in 1984 and returned to Munjoy Hill, where he threw himself into helping his friend Tom Andrews win the local Democratic state Senate primary against the sitting state Senate president, Gerry Conley Jr. “We were given no chance in the world of beating him,” says Caron, who had also helped Andrews win his state House seat in 1982.

Andrews won the election and in 1990 went on to win the 1st District U.S. House seat against sitting Attorney General Jim Tierney, this time with Caron as his communications consultant.

“In community organizing, you do so much with so little and you pick up skills in doing that that end up being valuable for an electoral campaign,” says Andrews, a progressive Democrat who’d led campaigns against the Maine Yankee nuclear plant. “In all these races it was an uphill climb, but the key to success was the nuts and bolts of organizing: knocking on doors, understanding people’s concerns and needs, and translating that into an army of volunteers who believe what you believe. Then you have a depth and capacity that others who do not approach politics this way do not have.”

By now, Caron had become the go-to political strategist in southern Maine. He campaigned against nuclear weapons in 1984, led the successful effort to block the widening of the Maine Turnpike in 1991 and helped striking lobstermen win the right to sell their catch at the Portland Fish Exchange. In 1992 he helped the LGBT community defend employment discrimination protections in the city of Portland and served as state political director for a dark-horse presidential candidate named Bill Clinton.

In 1991, Alan Caron helped manage a coalition that was able to block the proposed widening of the Maine Turnpike. In back is Peter Troast, one of the organizers of the effort. Staff file photo by Gordon Chibroski

No longer rubbing elbows with Maoists, he represented business leaders like Paul D. Merrill of Merrill Marine Terminal and waterfront condo developer Eastern Point Associates, and fought against the successful 1984 Portland waterfront referendum that restricted non-marine development on the water side of Commercial Street. These campaigns and clients, the Press Herald reported in 1992, “simultaneously boosted his stock in the political mainstream and permanently alienated some of his former comrades.”

At the peak of his influence on electoral politics, he led a group called New Leadership – ’94, which sought to elect progressive Democrats in place of the state’s entrenched party leaders. “There was an exhaustion with Joe Brennan, so this group assembled to interview all the Democratic gubernatorial candidates and Angus King to see if we could come to some agreement around something,” Caron recalls. “It was a fantastic process, but we couldn’t agree.” Stalemated, the group disbanded, and Caron, ironically, signed on with the Brennan campaign as communications director. “I didn’t think anyone could beat him,” he recalls.

He was wrong about that. King defeated Brennan and Republican nominee Susan Collins in a four-way race. Caron emerged from the campaign disillusioned with electoral campaigning.

“I’d always functioned with what I was passionate about, with hopefulness, and then I found myself locked in with people lobbing missiles at one another and attacking each other, and these professional industry people who were paid assassins and mercenaries,” he recalls. “I had friends who had been along the same steps as me and went on to be national political consultants, and I didn’t want that.”

He decided to make some money, pivoting Caron Communications to strategic consulting work for Bath Iron Works and other companies. The transition wasn’t entirely smooth. In 1997 he was slapped with a short-lived federal lien for $53,717 in overdue taxes – payroll tax liability, he says, garnered because he hadn’t had the heart to lay off employees as quickly as he should have. But business picked up thereafter. He bought a waterfront home in South Freeport in 1998 and stabilized his finances; this year he and his wife loaned $485,000 to his gubernatorial campaign.

Alan Caron speaks with his friend Liz Colburn on Wednesday inside an RV that doubles as a campaign office. Caron, who turns 67 this week, wants to enact ideas he put forth in two books: making government more efficient and creating an economy driven by innovation.

Smart growth champion

In 1999 he joined Freeport’s planning board, where an interest in smart growth policies was kindled. Freeport was in the midst of an effort to combat sprawl – low-density development that eats up open spaces and makes provision of services inefficient. He researched the issue and rose to chairman by 2001, championing ordinance changes that would encourage denser, village-like development and protect streams and other environmental features, a plan that would improve the town’s finances, foster growth, and protect the town’s brand and quality of life. Much of it was passed by the town council, but not a plan to create an entirely new village west of Interstate 295.

“I came to believe we needed a single statewide organization that could bring all the folks together working on land use protection and smart growth,” he says. In 2002 he convened a meeting of 30 of those very folks at the home of the late Maine Times founder Peter Cox, the result of which was the creation of GrowSmart Maine, a nonprofit intended to take the lead on fighting sprawl.

Caron, the group’s president, responded to a call for proposals from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which was looking for cities and regions to partner with. There were a dozen competitors, but GrowSmart had the winning proposal, including $1 million in philanthropic commitments to underwrite and promote the Brookings study. “He was a superb coalition builder, very strategic about messaging and execution and clearly understood the different networks within Maine,” says Bruce Katz, who directed the Brookings program at the time. “He was one of the best I’ve met in my life, and really able to capture what makes Maine so special.”

The resulting 2006 report, “Charting Maine’s Future,” shaped discussion of Maine’s economic future for several years. Its central pitch: Improve government efficiency and invest the savings in a $200 million R&D fund and other measures to jump-start an innovation-driven economy. But the Great Recession of 2008 and the 2010 election of Paul LePage – whose administration showed little interest in many of the recommendations – left the study on the shelf.

During this period, Caron met Kristina Egan, executive director of a similar organization in the Bay State, the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance. “I was intrigued by his ideas, because he was really bringing the economic development piece into how we make our communities stronger, and many of our colleagues weren’t doing that at the time,” says Egan, who is now executive director of the Greater Portland Council of Governments. “So we had this great philosophical and intellectual relationship before the rest.” They married in 2009 and have a son.

The 2008 recession dealt a brutal blow to GrowSmart, however. In June 2009 it announced it was scrapping a follow-up report, laying off six of 12 staffers, and would need $60,000 in short order to avoid a complete shutdown. Caron, who says donors had reneged on $110,000 in pledges over a two-week period, stepped down. “It shocked me that people could do a written pledge and then reverse them,” Caron says.

Maggie Drummond-Bahl, a staffer who took over as interim CEO, says the parting of the ways was amicable but had also been driven by tensions between the board – which had signed on to an anti-sprawl outfit – and Caron’s increasing interest in wider economic development issues. “The organization wasn’t ready to continue down that road,” she says.

Caron did, however. He started Envision Maine, a one-person nonprofit that spearheaded efforts to implement the Brookings plan. He published and co-authored two books, “Reinventing Maine Government” in 2010 and “Maine’s Next Economy” in 2015, which made detailed recommendations on government efficiency and how to create an innovation-driven economy, respectively. (Disclosure: In 2011 this reporter worked on the early phases of the second report and wrote a chapter on Maine’s historical context.) But Caron admits the broader effort hasn’t lifted off the launch pad.

“I’m not sure we have deliverables, which is part of the problem and is why I’m running,” he says. “People ask all the time how we do it, but we can’t with leadership that’s looking backward and resents the future.”

Colin Woodard can be contacted at 791-6317 or at:

cwoodard@pressherald.com

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/alan-caron-longtime-builder-of-coalitions-first-had-to-rebuild-himself/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576230_988949-20180919_alan-caro9-1.jpgAlan Caron outside the former Notre Dame Catholic Church in Waterville, the city where he was born. The church excommunicated his mother when she had him out of wedlock. Caron retaliated when he was older, stealing priests' vestments from as many churches as he could find. The "political statement" was capped off by time in prison, where his affinity for bringing people together took root.Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:05:06 +0000
How a member of Maine’s political elite found himself in Mueller’s cross hairs https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/how-a-member-of-maines-political-elite-found-himself-in-muellers-cross-hairs/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/how-a-member-of-maines-political-elite-found-himself-in-muellers-cross-hairs/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1044810 Four years before working to boost participation in Iraq’s first democratic elections in generations – and nearly two decades before his lobbying for foreign clients drew scrutiny from special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigators – Sam Patten was helping lead a political ground game in Maine.

“Pulling in some kind of a big-league speaker at this point is not going to change the nature of the game,” a 29-year-old Patten, then George W. Bush’s campaign coordinator in Maine, said one day before the historically close 2000 election. “In order to win, we’ve just got to concentrate on getting out our voters and also making our very best possible effort at making our case in the remaining hours to independents, undecided voters and fair-minded Democratic voters.”

For nearly a quarter-century, the Camden native and grandson of a well-known Washington, D.C., political socialite embedded himself in campaigns from Bangor to Baghdad. Patten worked with congressional candidates, nonprofits espousing democracy in troubled nations and also mega-corporations and foreign political parties willing to pay big bucks for access.

He advised opposition leaders in Russia and helped elect a pro-NATO president of Georgia (only to help elect his Russian-backed replacement eight years later). An international adviser pledging to deliver “commitment, discretion and high-impact solutions” to clients, Patten has also worked in multiple countries where on-the-ground political consulting requires a cadre of heavily armed security guards.

“People like me are not agents of change,” Patten told The Washington Post in 2014, when he was being paid $20,000 a month to advise an official hoping to be elected Iraq’s prime minister. (He wasn’t). “We’re helpers, perhaps enablers, of a historical process that is going to happen eventually, one way or another.”

Yet playing the enabler or foreign power broker – in political environments with few rules but plenty of available cash – can also be a risky, messy business. And for Patten, the mess has turned very real, with potentially damaging consequences.

FASCINATED BY RUSSIA EARLY ON

Last month, the 47-year-old pleaded guilty to failing to register as a “foreign agent” while lobbying members of Congress and the executive branch on behalf of Ukrainian political clients. He also arranged for an illegal donation from a Ukrainian citizen to President Trump’s inaugural committee – and then misled the Senate Intelligence Committee about the arrangement.

Patten’s partner in the lobbying business and in arranging for the “straw donor” donation to Trump’s inaugural committee, Russian citizen Konstantin Kilimnik, is a business partner of Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman at the center of the swirl of allegations over Russian meddling in the 2016 elections.

Patten was even listed as a potential witness in Manafort’s second trial before Manafort pleaded guilty earlier this month to conspiring to defraud the U.S. of taxes and conspiring to obstruct justice.

It’s a long way from Camden-Rockport High School, where Patten graduated in 1989, and his early political years working for the likes of Republican Sens. Bill Cohen, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine.

News of Patten’s Aug. 31 guilty plea and potential involvement in the high-profile Manafort case caught the attention of some in the Camden area, where his father, Bill, once occupied a prominent position as the former owner of the Camden Herald weekly newspaper.

Doug Hufnagel, a former Camden Herald columnist who worked for Bill Patten, said he was surprised the son would “fall into” that sort of situation. Hufnagel remembered Sam Patten as studious and bright but also the type of child who benefited from his family’s wealth and political connections.

“Sam would be a perfect example of someone who comes from money,” Hufnagel said. “How did he end up working for Susan Collins or working for William Cohen? The door was opened because of his father.”

At the same time, Hufnagel recalled an interesting – and enlightening, given recent events – conversation sometime after Sam Patten had graduated from college. Patten talked about plans to try to work in the oil industry in Russia or other former Soviet bloc countries – a concept that Hufnagel said “seemed absurd to me at the time.” But Patten followed through on his plans, eventually creating an advisory firm in Kazakhstan in the late-1990s that “provided public and government relations” services to such clients as Texaco, Coca-Cola and the Fortune 500 power company AES Corp., according to his website.

“Even back then, he had his eye on that part of the world,” Hufnagel said.

Patten and his attorney both declined to talk about his career or his current legal situation.

“Neither I or Mr. Patten will be making any statements or answering questions at this time,” Patten’s attorney, Stuart Sears, said earlier this month. “Should that change, I will let you know.”

The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram also reached out to multiple campaign or political staffers who worked with Patten in Maine as well as a number of Washington, D.C., consultants who knew Patten, but all either did not return phone calls or declined to comment.

However, previous media accounts in Maine and around the world illustrate Patten’s career path from a congressional intern from Maine to a highly compensated consultant providing advice – and access – to foreign clients.

After graduating from Camden-Rockport High School, Patten attended Georgetown University in the same affluent D.C. neighborhood where his grandmother, the late Susan Mary Alsop, entertained Washington’s political and social elite. Alsop’s second husband was the nationally syndicated political columnist Joseph Alsop.

FOSTERING DEMOCRACY ABROAD

After graduating from Georgetown, Patten worked as press secretary during Collins’ failed gubernatorial campaign in 1994 and then served as finance director for her successful Senate bid two years later. In 1996, according to a story in The Washington Post, Patten suffered a knife wound to the hip while trying to protect his grandmother when the two were mugged while walking home from dinner in Georgetown.

After his stint advising corporations interested in investing in Kazakhstan, Patten returned to Maine to work as a spokesman and campaign coordinator for Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

Dwayne Bickford, a former executive director of the Maine Republican Party, said he crossed paths with Patten numerous times during those years as the young politico worked on campaigns in the state, although they never worked closely together. Bickford said he periodically followed Patten’s work as he shifted his focus overseas.

“He seemed like a smart, intelligent and nice guy,” Bickford said.

Patten would spend much of the next decade working on democracy-related issues in countries around the world.

From 2001 to 2004, he led the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute, a nonpartisan organization funded by Congress – along with the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs – that works on “democracy development” in more than 30 countries. Patten worked with nongovernmental organizations as well as democracy-promoting political organizations and candidates – including the pro-capitalism opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, an outspoken critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin who was later assassinated.

Later in 2004, Patten was working for the International Republican Institute in Iraq as that country prepared for the first open elections since the U.S. invasion helped topple Saddam Hussein. As the organization’s political director in Iraq, Patten strove to educate Iraqis about the election process as the country prepared to create a new parliament and to bring together different political groups, or factions, to start the coalition-building process.

He told the Press Herald at the time of the January 2005 elections that it was the type of basic “get-out-the-vote” efforts that he and others employed in political races in Maine and throughout the U.S., including focus groups and producing television commercials. But rather than showing up at the polls with the “four or five foreign, heavily armed” security guards that had to accompany him around Iraq, Patten watched the results from his Baghdad building and was delighted by the massive turnout despite the threats of violence by extremist groups.

“There continues to be gunfire throughout tonight, and I think that insurgents are going to want to make some kind of statement … to punish people for having voted,” Patten told the Press Herald. But “the fact that so many Iraqis went out and voted today is an extraordinary act of courage and a very strong reflection on these people. It reflects very well on the future.”

‘CHASING JEFFERSONIAN SUNBEAMS’

As it turned out, Iraq’s transition to democracy was not smooth. A decade later, in 2014, Patten was still having to surround himself with armored glass and security guards as he advised Saleh Mutlaq – then Iraq’s deputy prime minster – as he ran for prime minister. As The Washington Post put it in a profile of this American advising an Iraqi candidate, Patten was still “chasing Jeffersonian sunbeams in a country where bombs keep going off” but was getting paid $20,000 a month to do it, although the consultant said that didn’t cover all of his enormous expenses.

Sam Patten talks with lawyer Riad al-Samarrai in Baghdad, Iraq, in 2014. Patten was a political force in his home state as well as abroad, playing key roles in Susan Collins’ Senate bid and George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.

“It’s one thing to be a star adviser to a campaign in, say, the United Kingdom,” the Post piece reads, “and another to ’embed,’ as Patten puts it, in an untidy, austere apartment in Jordan for four months and shuttle regularly to Baghdad, requiring an armored SUV to visit his candidate.”

A year later, Patten would form another international consulting firm – Begemot Ventures International, offering “influence without borders” – with a Russian citizen he worked closely with while heading the Moscow office of the International Republican Institute. It was that person, Konstantin Kilimnik, who would later become Paul Manafort’s close business associate while working in Ukraine and who special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team reportedly views as having close ties to Russian intelligence.

Between 2015 and 2017, Begemot Ventures received more than $1 million from the Ukrainian Opposition Bloc and for other Ukrainian consulting work, according to Patten’s plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Patten pleaded guilty to failing to register as a “foreign agent” for his lobbying work to “influence United States policy” and efforts to set up meetings between Ukrainian political figures and members of Congress or their staff.

Additionally, Patten admitted to working with a Russian national – widely believed to be Kilimnik – to help a Ukrainian citizen donate $50,000 to President Trump’s inaugural committee. The pair reportedly used a “straw donor” to secure inaugural tickets because foreign nationals are prohibited from contributing. The three men plus a fourth unnamed person then attended the inaugural celebrations.

PATTEN FACES FIVE YEARS IN PRISON

Patten faces up to five years in prison for the charges to which he pleaded guilty, although he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in hopes of leniency during sentencing. The timeline for those events is unclear, given Manafort’s recent guilty plea.

But in a Facebook post immediately after his guilty plea – which is no longer publicly available but was preserved by a “friend” on the social media network – Patten apologized “for the embarrassment this lapse in my own high professional standards has caused my family, my friends and my past and present work associates.” Patten went on to say that he dedicated much of his career in international politics to “helping democratic forces engage in competitive, non-violent election campaigns and helping improve governance in challenging parts of the world.”

“I am ashamed that failing to register (as a foreign agent) in these instances undermines much of my life’s work, and am committed to making amends for this transgression,” he wrote.

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

kmiller@mainetoday.com

Twitter: KevinMillerPPH

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/how-a-member-of-maines-political-elite-found-himself-in-muellers-cross-hairs/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576374_326319-SamPattenBAG36413981-1.jpgSam Patten, left, speaks with Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq in Baghdad in April 2014. As Patten advised him in his bid to become prime minister that year, the Maine native had to protect himself with armored glass and security guards. Patten, 47, pleaded guilty last month to failing to register as a foreign agent related to his lobbying work in Ukraine. He also coordinated with a Russian national to help a Ukrainian citizen donate $50,000 to President Trump’s inaugural committee. Khalid Mohammed for The Washington Post Sat, 22 Sep 2018 20:45:43 +0000
Car-moose collisions on decline in Maine https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/car-moose-collisions-on-decline-in-maine/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/car-moose-collisions-on-decline-in-maine/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1044846 Good news for moose: The overall population is up, but the number of car-moose collisions is trending down.

In 2017, there were 287 car crashes in Maine involving a moose, according to new data from the Maine Department of Transportation.

That’s less than half the 646 crashes 10 years earlier, in 2007, and down 32 percent from five years earlier, in 2012.

So far this year, there have been 158 car-moose crashes, continuing the downward trend.

But it can sure feel like an uptick when collisions are clustered in a certain place, one northern Maine lawmaker said.

“I’ve had six people just in my little circle that have hit one this summer,” said Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash.

There are only about 250 people living in Allagash.

“There’s a stretch of highway (from lower Allagash) before you get to the main metropolis of Allagash that’s a 3- or 4-mile stretch. There have been four moose collisions in that little old stretch there just this summer,” Jackson said. “Which is really odd. We never used to see that there.”

Jackson had enough constituents complaining about moose collisions that he invited state officials up for a forum. Moose biologist Lee Kantar of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife walked them through some of the factors that guide moose behavior.

Kantar says long-term crash data indicate the number of collisions is down “significantly” over the last 15 to 20 years.

There isn’t a specific reason why that may be, he said, but there are certain things that are clearly factors. Visibility is a major factor – Maine DOT tracks how many accidents happen on a curve versus a straight road – and driver inattention.

Moose populations vary year by year, and probably aren’t a big factor, but there are some predictable reasons that explain why a moose is crossing the road.

Kantar said younger moose “tend to wander quite a bit” in the summer months – an idea borne out by data showing that most accidents happen in June.

A long-term study of collared moose that tracks their movements showed that some yearlings travel 100 miles over the course of just a few weeks, he said.

“Obviously in doing that, they’re going to be crossing roads,” he said.

There was one driver fatality last year, when a car hit a moose on Interstate 95 in the town of Howland in Penobscot County. Another 42 accidents caused some injury to drivers.

Because of the size of moose, any collision can be fatal or cause extensive damage. The Maine DOT website offers a list of tips for drivers, including the fact that while deer eyes will reflect headlights, moose are so tall, the eyes won’t be reflected in headlights, making them harder to see.

Moose, which travel in groups, are most active around dawn and dusk but also travel at night. In addition, drivers should note moose warning signs, which are located where there are known concentrations or a history of collisions.

And if a crash is unavoidable, officials say drivers can minimize the risk of driver injury by applying the brakes and steering straight, then letting up on the brakes just before impact to allow the front of the vehicle to rise slightly, and aiming to hit the tail end of the animal. That can reduce the risk of the moose striking the windshield and may increase the driver’s chance of missing the moose. Drivers should also duck to avoid windshield debris.

As in previous years, clusters of collisions happened along the I-95 corridor north of Bangor, Route 201 in Somerset County and along Route 11 and Route 1 in Aroostook County.

As for Jackson, he’s taking a practical approach to lower the risk of car versus moose. If re-elected, he’ll push for state funds to get the trees and grasses trimmed back from the highways.

“Ten or 15 feet on either side at least,” he said. “It gives you a chance to brake, instead of them just stepping right into your vehicle.”

 

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/car-moose-collisions-on-decline-in-maine/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576354_571728-20061011MooseCrossin-1.jpgTwo moose calves follow their mother across a busy Route 139 in Benton in 2006 as motorists brake for the animals. Most moose are so tall that their eyes aren't reflected in headlights, making it harder to see them crossing roads at night.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 20:56:58 +0000
‘Weird’ is in: Scientist running Replenova Farm seeks out unexpected niche https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/at-replenova-farm-weird-is-in/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/at-replenova-farm-weird-is-in/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1044954 CUMBERLAND — The first year he farmed, Gary Goodrich grew tomatoes, which he proudly brought to local stores, expecting them to be snapped up by wholesale buyers. No one wanted them, which was a little crushing.

Nor did they particularly want the cucumbers he was growing on his new Replenova Farm in Cumberland. He realized he was operating in what felt like a whim economy, whereby he might arrive with 100 pounds of the same kind and quality of cucumbers he’d brought the week before and be rejected. “They can say, ‘Oh, we’re all set on cucumbers.’ ”

Lemon cucumbers. Farmer Gary Goodrich is growing crops not usually cultivated in Maine.

For someone who had spent decades running a biotech firm, this was a rude surprise. Goodrich founded Bioprocessing Inc. in 1990 and owned and ran it until he sold it to a California company called Bio-Rad Laboratories in 2012. He was used to more predictable business practices.

“We manufactured and developed raw materials that were used for testing cancer,” Goodrich said. “Our customers were large diagnostic companies that made these tests. We had contracts. Yearly contracts for these things.”

But the Pownal resident, who started farming in his 60s after decades of hardcore vegetable gardening, likes a challenge.

“Once I started talking to stores that said, ‘No, we don’t want your vegetables,’ it was like, OK, I guess I gotta figure out what you do want.”

Which is why he’s got heirloom European squash 3 feet long, dangling like fat tropical snakes in one of his three hoop houses. Those cucuzza squash, which he’s been selling for $5 each at the Yarmouth Farmers Market this month, represent Goodrich’s approach to agricultural innovation: grow market crops no one else is growing in Maine.

He stocked the Portland Food Co-op with fresh edamame this summer and has another crop of the tasty little soybeans ripening on the farm for the fall harvest. While soybeans are grown on some farms in Maine, edamame, the immature versions, are typically only to be found in the freezer cases at supermarkets, imports from outside the state.

Brenda Engel and Gary Goodrich carry a tub full of cucuzzi at Replenova Farm as they prepare for a local farmers market. Goodrich can sell the unusual squashes for $5 each.

Then there are the sour gherkins, which look like watermelons perfectly sized for Barbie and Ken’s dinner table at the Dream House. Melothria scabra also go by the name mouse melons, and Goodrich recommends adding them to salsa. Or treating them like grapes. “Just pop them in your mouth,” he said.

“Experimenting with new varieties is a tricky balance for farmers,” said Amy Sinclair, the manager of the Yarmouth Farmers Market. “Because the majority of customers still want the basic beefsteak(tomatoes)-blueberry-corn fare. But there’s a smaller, devoted group of foodies, bored home cooks and restaurateurs who go to farmers markets looking for something brand new. That’s Replenova’s customer.”

Those kind of customers, Sinclair said, can be spotted at the market with giant cucuzzis from Replenova slung over their shoulders. “We look like a vegetable militia!”

SUSTAINABLY ALL THE WAY

At 65, Goodrich fits right in with the aging farming demographic in Maine as well as nationally (average age 58), but as he puts it, “this is a second-act kind of thing.” He’s upfront about being funded by the fruits of his past labors, although Replenova is too rough and ready to look like a classic gentleman’s farm. He’s got enough money to experiment, but not enough to throw up an instant, full-scale farm.

The goal is to make a sustainable business, approached from every angle.

Evironmentally speaking, he is using solar power, with a wood-burning assist on cloudy days, to keep his three hoop houses warm enough to extend seasons, and to fire up his drying facility, which handles about 1,000 pounds of tomatoes a week. (Despite that Year One rejection, he hasn’t given up tomatoes entirely, but he does focus on cherry varieties and dries much of his crop.) The wood is available locally, and he said it takes him only about two cords to get through a season. They’ve got to keep that drying house hot.

“Nathalie,” he asks his right-hand woman on the farm, Nathalie Forster. “What’s the temperature in there? Without the assist, when the sun is out?”

“One sixty,” Forster answers.

Gary Goodrich of Replenova Farm in Cumberland looks over a greenhouse full of edamame. Edamame are typically only found in the freezer case at the supermarket.

Peering in the back of the hoop house, the flourishing cucuzzi vines look ready to make a break for it. They can grow 3 inches in a day, Goodrich says. “It’s like Jurassic Park in there,” Forster jokes. He and the farm staff, which includes Forster and Brenda Engel, are seed-saving as well, and they’ve already got a crop of winter greens going from a batch of seeds they harvested earlier this year. Replenova uses rye as a fall/winter cover crop to replenish the soil. In the spring Goodrich cuts the rye down, smothers it with plastic and leaves the root structure in place as much as possible, doing only a light till with a small machine. He planted white clover around the hoop houses. They sit on roughly an acre and a half he’s leasing from the Cianchette family, which owns both the parcel he’s on and a nearby grass-fed beef farm.

“It’s good for the pollinators but also low maintenance,” Goodrich said. “It only grows this high,” he said, gesturing at the ankle-height clover, which doesn’t even need mowing. “That is less fuel you are using in your tractor.”

Replenova is not intended to be his retirement indulgence. “It needs to pay for itself,” he said. “That makes it sustainable, financially, right?”

While he already has a relationship with Good Shepherd Food Bank, handing over some of the aforementioned tomatoes and cucumbers, he wants to make the farm work financially in part so he can give more. “What we need is some high-value organic produce, maybe some culinary-type stuff to help make it sustainable and then we can give away a lot of stuff.”

Another innovation he started growing this year falls into that high-value category: pea shoots in a totally compostable medium (and plastic tray), inside a compostable bag, so the customer can trim what they want to eat and then leave the container to regrow.

There’s another area in which he wants to practice sustainability: work force.

“Growing food is so terribly undervalued in terms of the effort it takes to get it going,” he said. “So I have got a high wage.” He pays $15 an hour, he said. “I won’t do it for less. What is the point?”

He acknowledges his privilege in being able to pay those kind of wages. “I sold a biotech company,” he said. “That’s fine. You can say anything you want about that. But we want to contribute. I think feeding people is an important thing.”

NAMESAKE

The name Replenova is “two Latin words jammed together,” Goodrich said. Replenish and new. That sounds a lot like the name of a pharmaceutical company.

Farm technician Brenda Engel picks Replenova’s cucuzzi – heirloom European squash – on Sept. 13.

“Or a biotech company?” he said, smiling. “Maybe that is my bias.”

Goodrich knew he wanted to be a scientist when he was in seventh grade. His science background comes into play constantly on the farm, whether he’s rigging a solar-heated system to jump-start seedlings or considering a new crop. He’d been hearing about turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. “I tend to look at these things pretty askance,” he said. “People make all these claims about this stuff. So I want to see peer-reviewed, published papers.”

He found more than a thousand of them, devoted to the healing powers of turmeric. Now he keeps a root in his freezer and shaves it onto his eggs in the morning.

In the hoop house, turmeric grows near the cucuzzi (which are planted on an arbor, for easy picking for people with aging knees), and Goodrich plans to do a whole hoop house of it next year. It takes 10 months for the turmeric root to mature and his plan is to harvest it in November, when there isn’t much of it fresh on the market. He’s hoping to sell a lot of the crop to Whole Foods.

His desire to grow food is nearly as longstanding as his desire to be a scientist. His father introduced him to gardening as a teenager, and by the time Goodrich was an undergraduate at the University of Vermont, he was planting such big gardens that one year, he stayed all summer to tend it. When he moved to Boston to take a job doing cancer research, he lined the deck of his apartment in a triple-decker with raised beds. “All my neighbors thought I was crazy,” he said. “This was 1976-1977 when I was doing this.”

Sour gherkins, also called mouse melons, look like watermelons perfectly sized for Barbie and Ken’s dinner table at the Dream House.

He moved to Maine in 1981, and as he and his wife raised their family of three, Goodrich gardened and cooked for all. “I did it for 25 years,” he said. “My wife worked a second shift (at L.L. Bean).” He pushed the limits in his home garden too. “From a culinary point of view, I am always looking for outstanding things.”

He’s got room to expand in Cumberland, but will likely move the operation to a 17-acre parcel he purchased recently in Durham. That will cut his commute down from 10 miles to about five. For now though, he’s focused on tinkering with what he’s got in Cumberland. He’s got marketing to do, the farmers market to staff – those cucuzzi aren’t going to sell themselves – and along his commute, restaurants to stop in at, bringing fresh sugar snap peas or garlic chive flowers to sell. It’s a switch from the biotech life but not that far afield.

“I had 20 people in my company, and I still had to be the lead marketing and sales and the lead developer,” Goodrich said. “You have to do all that. I had great people but you have to do those things, and I am learning that in the food business you have to do the same.”

Maybe he’ll plant fava beans next year. Maybe he’ll convince more people to buy his dried cherry tomatoes, which so far look too much like red raisins to woo the farmers market crowd. He’s got kinks to work out with the marketing of the edamame; when the beans are at their prime for eating, the pods turn brown, and he got feedback from the Portland Food Co-op that this was a turn off for customers.

“It’s OK if you hit a bump,” Goodrich said. “So you go this way and then you go that way. It happened to me once a week in 25 years of business. Or once a day. Business isn’t perfect that way. God, in farming you have to make tons of adjustments to make it sustainable from the financial point of view.”

“That’s why I’m not building brand-new stuff and doing it all at once,” he said. “You also have to enjoy the trip here. And each day you learn something new.”

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

mpols@pressherald.com

Twitter: MaryPols

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/at-replenova-farm-weird-is-in/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1572030_849508-20180913_Farm341.jpgGary Goodrich of Replenova Farm in Cumberland looks over a greenhouse full of edamame. Edamame are typically only found in the freezer case at the supermarket. Thu, 20 Sep 2018 23:31:28 +0000
Southern Maine sees building boom as cities bust out permits https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/southern-maine-sees-building-boom-as-cities-bust-out-permits/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/southern-maine-sees-building-boom-as-cities-bust-out-permits/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1045110 BIDDEFORD — In the next few months, city officials in Biddeford and Saco will review plans for large-scale projects that could transform riverfront properties in each city with new housing and retail space.

The projects in York County’s largest cities come at a time when officials in Biddeford and Saco say they have been issuing building permits for commercial and residential projects at an unprecedented rate, and are constantly fielding calls from developers interested in investing in the twin cities.

“The market is hot. It’s very, very busy,” said Mathew Eddy, Biddeford’s director of planning and development.

The interest is fueled at least in part by a tight market that has forced buyers, renters and developers out of Portland and into other southern Maine cities such as Biddeford, Saco and Westbrook, where prices are lower and there is space available for development.

The pressure is reflected in a 33 percent surge in the number of building permits granted over the past five years in the cities of York and Cumberland counties. Westbrook and Biddeford have seen the biggest spike – 88 percent and 60 percent, respectively.

And the surge is not showing any signs of slowing.

Developers Jim Brady and Brian Eng are meeting with Biddeford city officials to discuss redeveloping the 8½-acre property where a trash incinerator once stood. If the project comes to fruition, city officials say it could transform the area, contribute to the “Biddesance” that is reviving the former mill town and add to the city’s building boom.

In Saco, which has seen a 26 percent increase in permits, developer Bernie Saulnier is seeking city approval for an ambitious $40 million project on the eastern side of Saco Island that would include a marina, apartments, restaurant and boutique hotel. Positioned at the gateway of the city, the project would be built on the last undeveloped section of the island that sits in the Saco River between the two cities.

Construction crews work last month on a three-story, climate-controlled storage facility on Industrial Road in Saco. The city of about 18,000 residents has issued building permits for more than 51 single-family homes since January, on track to eclipse last year’s total of 60. Property values are also holding well.

Westbrook has seen large-scale residential housing developments and commercial projects, including a $62 million expansion at Idexx.

Now, a Massachusetts builder plans to develop a shopping center and 750 apartments on land surrounding the former Pike Industries quarry. And Daniel Stevenson, Westbrook’s director of economic development, said he regularly meets with businesses and developers interested in moving to Westbrook. People seem drawn to the city with 17,000 residents because it is close to Portland but is still relatively affordable and has a small-town feel, he said.

COMMUNITIES ‘CHECK ALL THE BOXES’

In southern York County, the city of Sanford, with 20,000 residents, saw an 11.6 percent increase in building permits issued from 2013 to 2017. But the number of building permits has been consistently among the highest for all five years and jumped 27 percent from 2016 to 2017. In the first half of this year, the city issued 768 building permits, putting Sanford on track to approve more building permits than the 901 permits issued last year.

South Portland, a city of 25,000 residents, recorded a 17 percent increase in building permits from 2013 to 2017, according to data provided by the city.

Portland has been in a growth pattern for years, with high demand on residential and commercial property and a short supply of land that hasn’t been developed. In the past five years, the city of 67,000 people has seen a 35 percent increase in building permits issued for projects ranging from apartment buildings to subdivisions to downtown hotels.

“As Portland continues to grow and do well, people have no choice but to look elsewhere,” said Justin Lamontagne, a partner with NAI The Dunham Group. “Those communities (like Biddeford, Saco and Westbrook) check all the boxes on what people are looking for.”

While Biddeford and Saco are not the only communities in southern Maine experiencing a building boom, there are factors that are unique to the twin cities, according to municipal officials and developers. The two cities straddle the Saco River and are the metropolitan center of York County, while also only 30 to 40 minutes from Portland.

Biddeford has more than 21,000 residents and Saco has about 18,000.

The availability of land for development and real estate prices well below those in Portland are key factors driving people to Biddeford and Saco. The closure of the Maine Energy trash incinerator in downtown Biddeford in 2012 also helped fuel interest in the cities and led to multimillion-dollar projects to redevelop former textile mills and fill some empty Main Street storefronts.

“Saco and Biddeford seem to be welcoming development,” said Brit Vitalius, founder of the Vitalius Real Estate Group and president of the Southern Maine Landlord Association. “I think (the combined metro region) is on its way to becoming its own center of gravity. It has its own attractions, not just as an alternative to Portland.”

BIDDEFORD’S STOCK UP SINCE 2012

Biddeford Code Enforcement Officer Roby Fecteau arrives at the office early, when City Hall is empty and Main Street is quiet, to pore over building plans. To keep up with the rapid rate of new development in the city, his office approves at least three new permit applications every day.

“It’s the busiest I’ve seen it in the 17 years I’ve been here,” Fecteau said. “The days go by fast.”

In the next few months, Biddeford officials will consider a proposal for a 240-unit apartment complex on Barra Road, the latest proposed large-scale project designed to address the demand for rental units in the city. The apartments would be built on land between Route 11 and the Maine Turnpike, close to the hospital, medical offices and shopping centers.

City officials also will continue to meet with Brady and Eng, who are interested in developing the former Maine Energy trash incinerator property, an 8½-acre riverfront parcel next to Lincoln Mill and other mill buildings that have been renovated for housing and businesses.

Downtown, work is expected to begin soon on the Lincoln Mill, where developer Tim Harrington plans to invest $40 million to build 181 residential units in a building that will also include a restaurant, fitness center and rooftop pool. A few blocks away, the Pepperell Mill Campus – where developer Doug Sanford’s company is redeveloping 1 million square feet of former textile mill space – is continuing to expand with new businesses and apartments.

“People are discovering us,” said Eddy, Biddeford’s director of planning and development. “We seem to be on the right track. We just need to keep the momentum going.”

Much of the residential growth seems to be fueled by an increasing interest in homeownership, millennials moving to the city and the availability of affordable housing compared with cities like Portland, Eddy said.

“People can still find housing for a reasonable price,” he said.

In Biddeford, the average cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment with utilities included is $1,009, according to data compiled by the city. In the mill district, where hundreds of apartments have been built in recent years, rents start at $895 and go up to $2,200 for a luxury unit. By comparison, the average advertised rent for a two-bedroom in Portland was $1,605 in late 2017, according to a Portland Press Herald analysis. Apartments in a new building on Anderson Street in the city’s East Bayside neighborhood range from $1,200 for a studio to $2,200 for a two-bedroom unit.

When it comes to commercial development, there is just as much interest in Biddeford, according to city officials. Biddeford’s business and industrial parks are full, and developers are expressing interest in the River Dam Mill, the city’s last vacant mill, Eddy said. He has also heard from developers interested in investing in the Saco Lowell Mill on Elm Street, though he said it’s too early to disclose details.

“It’s not minimal interest,” Eddy said.

City officials, developers and investors say the interest in investing in downtown Biddeford increased dramatically after the City Council voted in 2012 to buy the property where the Maine Energy trash incinerator was located.

“That was really a game changer for that area,” said Lamontagne of NAI The Dunham Group.

Mike Eon of Biddeford-based Mike Eon Associates is representing the developers behind the Barra Road proposal and has worked in real estate and developing in the area for 40 years. When Maine Energy closed, officials predicted they’d see more growth in the city. Eon said he is glad to see that prediction coming true.

“What I saw as the biggest deterrent to growth in the twin cities was the Maine Energy plant,” he said. “Now that it is gone, people realize there’s opportunity here.”

OUTLOOK BRIGHT ACROSS THE RIVER

In Saco, there has been growth in all sectors, with a spate of new commercial projects proposed or underway and an increase in building permits issued for single-family homes. The city recorded $38 million in new construction value in 2017 and has already seen $37 million in new construction through the end of last month.

“We are going to surpass last year’s total construction value within the next couple days,” said City Administrator Kevin Sutherland.

The city has issued building permits for more than 51 new single-family homes since January, closing in on the 60 total issued in 2017. This year, city officials expect to see 24 new housing units going into the former Notre Dame Church and construction of a 72-unit multifamily housing development on Portland Road.

But the majority of the $37 million in new construction – about $21 million – is connected to commercial activity across the city, said Code Enforcement Officer Dick Lambert. That includes a new truck terminal for A. Duie Pyle, a $300,000 renovation of a new space for yarn distributor Quince and Co., and an addition at Garland Manufacturing on Industrial Park Road.

Saulnier’s large-scale Saco Island project – “The Waters” – began working its way through the planning process last month. Saulnier, who used to summer in Saco and now lives in the city, said it was a natural choice for his project because of its proximity to the ocean, downtown, the Amtrak train and larger cities like Portland and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

“Not everybody can afford Portland pricing, so where do you go next?” Saulnier said. “The cities of Saco and Biddeford have a lot to offer and they keep continuing to grow.”

City officials believe the interest in Saco is strong because of the natural amenities such as beaches and walking trails, the quality of schools and the proximity to Portland, Portsmouth and Boston. Property values are also holding well in Saco, Lambert said.

“They know if they invest in Saco, they’re not going to lose their investment if they plan right and do it well,” he said.

But the increase in building activity hasn’t come without growing pains. Sutherland said his staff hasn’t increased enough to handle the number of requests for permits and inspections, but that employees are doing their best to work with the resources available. The number of complaints – ranging from noise at construction sites to questions about whether work is being done without a permit – has jumped 66 percent in the past five years.

“It’s hard to keep up with at times,” Lambert said.

Sutherland, who has been city administrator for three years, sees the development activity as good for the city despite those growing pains and doesn’t expect interest in the city to taper off anytime soon.

“When I first came here, I said Saco is Maine’s best-kept secret,” he said. “Now the secret is out.”

 

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/23/southern-maine-sees-building-boom-as-cities-bust-out-permits/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576738_287450-20180807_Saco1480-1.jpgBrandon Norton works at the site of a future Cutts Avenue apartment complex in Saco, which had a 26 percent surge in permits over five years. Saco saw $38 million in new construction value in 2017.Sun, 23 Sep 2018 08:31:24 +0000
High winds knock out power to more than 2,400 in Maine https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/high-winds-knock-out-power-to-more-than-2400-in-maine/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/high-winds-knock-out-power-to-more-than-2400-in-maine/#respond Sun, 23 Sep 2018 00:20:09 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/high-winds-knock-out-power-to-more-than-2400-in-maine/ High winds coming in behind a cold front knocked out power to more than 2,400 electricity customers in northern and eastern Maine overnight Friday and into Saturday morning, according to Emera Maine, the electric utility that serves Aroostook, Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis and Washington counties.

The utility said that power had been restored to more than 1,000 customers by about 4 p.m. Saturday. By 8 p.m. just 384 customers were still experiencing outages, in towns such as Sebec, Millinocket and Ellsworth.

Winds reached nearly 40 miles per hour Friday night and early Saturday morning in parts of Maine and New Hampshire as a cold front moved through the region, according to the National Weather Service in Gray. Mount Washington recorded a wind speed of 108 mph at about 4 a.m. Saturday.

“The gusty winds were pretty widespread,” said meteorologist James Brown.

Those winds subsided by Saturday night, and will likely remain that way for the next few days as a high pressure system gradually moves in from the Great Lakes to the Northeast, Brown said.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/high-winds-knock-out-power-to-more-than-2400-in-maine/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1301185_570757_20171031_storm0028-e1537662862736.jpgA crew from New Brunswick, Canada, assists with power restoration on Portland's Veranda Street late in October, after a powerful storm caused the most outages in CMP's history.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 20:34:38 +0000
Waterville roots, energy, rapport with people inform Poliquin’s quest, those who know him say https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/waterville-roots-energy-rapport-with-people-inform-poliquins-quest-those-who-know-him-say/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/waterville-roots-energy-rapport-with-people-inform-poliquins-quest-those-who-know-him-say/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 23:41:41 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/waterville-roots-energy-rapport-with-people-inform-poliquins-quest-those-who-know-him-say/

Editor’s note: This is the fourth and final profile running weekly in the Sunday edition on the candidates for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat.

CANTON — Moving slowly and often alone, three dozen elderly and sometimes frail residents eagerly filtered into the activity room at the Pinnacle Nursing Home last fall.

They made no secret about why they’d come: ice cream.

Most had been told that morning that U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican from Maine’s sprawling 2nd District, would be stopping by to give some war medals to a 100-year-old veteran who served in U.S. Gen. George Patton’s Army as it chased the Nazis from France. But it didn’t appear they all remembered the congressman was coming.

Instead, they argued a little about whether the chairs had been lined up in preparation for an ice cream social or for some music, a decidedly less popular option.

They wound up getting the congressman, the ice cream and a cake decorated with a Purple Heart.

So everybody left happy, even if some didn’t know where to go. Poliquin carefully steered more than one confused older woman down the hall to aides who could help her find her way.

In between, though, the setting offered a glimpse of the one-on-one touch the former Wall Street executive and longtime Maine businessman used to win an open congressional seat and hang on to it through a bitter re-election battle.

The two-term lawmaker spoke to each resident in turn, chatting warmly about their children, his son, their common French heritage, his mother’s dog, how much he enjoyed the Fryeburg Fair and how to celebrate the birthday of one woman born on a long-ago Christmas Day.

“What do you do? Give two presents?” Poliquin asked, grinning. “Was that fair? Christmas and your birthday — it’s always fair.”

Handing out plates with ice cream and cake, Poliquin bounced back and forth between the residents and the soft-serve machine, beaming.

“This is fun,” Poliquin said.

That honest-to-God joy he showed as he raced around with ice cream for the elderly is perhaps one of his secrets.

“My dad is incredibly fun and funny, something that probably isn’t apparent from his day-to-day job,” his son, Sam, said during interviews with the Sun Journal from his home in Los Angeles.

Being fun and having a good sense of humor are good traits for a person to have, especially when they’re facing another grueling re-election campaign.

‘BRUTAL, BRUTAL ELECTION’

Poliquin, who briefly answered only a few questions for this story, has never had an easy election.

His first bid for public office came up short in 2010 when he sought to win the state’s top job. He finished sixth in a seven-person field in the Republican primary that Paul LePage won on the way to serving two terms as Maine governor.

Two years later, while serving as the state’s Legislature-appointed treasurer, Poliquin tried again — losing the GOP primary for the open U.S. Senate seat that independent Angus King wound up winning.

But Poliquin is not a guy who gives up easily.

In 2014, he muscled through a tough primary to claim Republican backing in a general election to fill an open seat in Maine’s hardscrabble 2nd District, the largest and most rural east of the Mississippi River.

After one of the more contentious and costly contests in Maine history, Poliquin defeated Democrat Emily Cain and independent Blaine Richardson to win the U.S. House seat and his first elective position.

Two years ago, in an even more costly and bitter re-election fight, Poliquin beat Cain by a larger margin than the first time.

This year, it appears he again has his work cut out for him as he squares off against Democrat Jared Golden, of Lewiston, and two independents, Tiffany Bond and Will Hoar.

Poliquin’s campaign consultant, Brent Littlefield, told supporters at the state GOP convention to expect a “brutal, brutal election,” and nothing that’s happened since has made that prediction seem off the mark.

Both of the major parties are gearing up for a major clash in a district that experts rate either “a toss-up” or one that gives Poliquin a slight edge.

It’s close enough, in short, that political action committees and campaign professionals on each side are preparing to spend millions to convince Maine voters that Poliquin should stay — or go.

WATERVILLE UPBRINGING

Born on Nov. 1, 1953, Poliquin said he grew up “in a very small ranch home in a neighborhood loaded with kids.”

He lived with his parents — father Lee, a high school teacher, and mother Louise, a nurse — and shared a room with his older brother, Jimmy.

Their house was on quiet Violette Avenue in Waterville, a street that doesn’t look much different today from the way it did then — lined with little houses in a residential section that doesn’t have sidewalks or curbs.

Poliquin’s son, Sam, said his grandparents had “a simple yet comfortable old central Maine home” where everything “seemed to come from the 1950s and 1960s: the dishware, the carpet, the furniture and the books.”

When he visited, Sam noted “photos of my dad and my uncle” were all over the place.

“I’ll never forget my grandfather’s raccoon hat or his baseball-cap stretcher,” he said. His grandparents’ favorite activity, he said, “was to sit in lawn chairs outside of the garage and watch the squirrels and chipmunks.”

Sam remembered his grandfather’s mischievous nature — how he would teach what he called “bad habits” to his grandson to get a rise out of his wife.

“For example, he would take me to McDonald’s every Sunday morning for pancakes when I was a kid, and let me throw his empty coffee cups over my shoulder and into the back of the cab of his pickup truck,” he said. “My grandmother would give him such a hard time for doing this.”

He recalls his grandmother’s sense of fun, too.

“When I was a kid I would chase her around the dining room table with a dishcloth, both of us screaming,” Sam said. “Somehow that turned into one of my favorite activities.”

Growing up in that household, the future congressman was “always very smart,” recalled one of his uncles, Ray Cyr, of Ormand Beach, Florida.

When he got a little older, Poliquin earned money by cutting grass or shoveling snow, saving up enough cash to afford his own metallic-green Stingray bike with a banana seat, the height of cool for kids in that era.

His favorite treat, according to his son, was Bolley’s Famous Franks in Waterville — a place he still frequents, along with Simones’ Hot Dog Stand in Lewiston and Dysart’s in Hermon. He also loves lobster, plain, without so much as a bit of butter.

Cyr said Poliquin adored sports from early on, especially baseball. He played a number of sports, including the game that his French-Canadian forebears had brought with them from Quebec: ice hockey.

Despite his small size, Poliquin displayed some skill on the ice and proved a pretty tough goalie for teams that generally did quite well. The Waterville High School team that he played on won a state championship.

Then came the sort of lucky break that, in retrospect, clearly set him on a path that would take him far from the old neighborhood.

As he described it years later, a guidance counselor advised his family to look into boarding schools as the next step toward fulfilling a longtime wish to attend Harvard University.

Based on his smarts and athletic prowess, Phillips Academy Andover, in Andover, Massachusetts, accepted him with a scholarship that made it possible for Poliquin to attend by working sometimes in the library and washing windows for faculty members.

One of the school’s many prominent graduates, writer Buzz Bissinger, described Andover at that time as a place filled with “all those young men with all that talent and ambition, where everyone knows who is going to be who in later life.”

“We know who is going to be the great lawyer and the star of Wall Street or the CEO or the great doctor and the great biologist,” Bissinger said.

Las Vegas lawyer Mace Yampolsky, a classmate who hailed from Revere, Massachusetts, said Poliquin arrived at the famed preparatory school as “this boy from a small town” in Maine “and he embraced it. He did everything.”

Yampolsky said Poliquin made friends easily with his humor and his constant smile.

Among the sports he played at Andover were lacrosse and football — on a team that included center Bill Belichick, who went on to coach the New England Patriots.

Yampolsky said he didn’t remember Poliquin as an academic superstar, but he said he must have done well. “He got into Harvard” after all, he said.

Poliquin adored Andover, as he’s made clear on many occasions over the years, including giving classmates a private U.S. Capitol tour one night in 2015.

“I love Andover. This is home to me. This is my family. One of the greatest accomplishments of my life has been graduating from this place,” Poliquin said in a 2016 interview with The Phillipian during a visit to the school.

Poliquin made lots of friends at Andover and found more at Harvard, which also covered most of his costs with financial aid. What it didn’t cover, he earned at jobs that included painting metal roofs, digging sewer lines and working the night shift at the Wyandotte Spinning Mill in Sidney.

Those close to him have never questioned his willingness to work.

Despite his middle-class roots, his natural exuberance helped him fit in among a student body filled with the offspring of America’s elite families, many of them wealthy.

Poliquin has always “had that same personality,” Cyr said, calling him “just a wonderful guy” who has lots of friends and loves to have his family around.

On Harvard’s lacrosse team, where Poliquin also tended goal, his hustle and team spirit made him stand out.

“He was an energetic guy,” said William Tennis, general counsel and executive vice president of DiamondRock Hospitality Co. in Maryland, a teammate who graduated with Poliquin. “He showed an enormous amount of spirit to the team.”

Poliquin “was one of the most spirited and energetic players that I ever had the pleasure of coaching,” recalled Bob Scalise, Harvard’s athletic director, who coached the lacrosse team when Poliquin played.

“Although Bruce was not a starter, he was instrumental to our team’s success,” Scalise said. “Opposing coaches would often comment about ‘that kid on the sideline that got your team fired up. He was worth a couple of goals for your team.'”

As graduation rolled around, Poliquin borrowed a suit from his roommate for interviews and had his father mail him the dress shoes the father had worn at his wedding four decades earlier.

His formal education complete, Poliquin, an economics major, snagged a job in Chicago with Harris Bank, where he worked for a few years, and then moved on to a consulting firm in New York City that evaluated corporate pension funds.

He joined a small investment management firm in New York in 1981, Avatar Associates. During the next 15 years, he became one of its managing partners as it grew from overseeing $35 million to handling $5 billion.

One of its partners, Charles White, said the company offered “good professional advice” and “a very conservative” investment strategy that was a good fit for pension funds in particular.

Poliquin, who spent a fair amount of time on the road talking to companies interested in Avatar’s advice, was “very successful” in the business and instrumental in his firm’s growth, White said.

He called Poliquin “a hardworking, dependable guy who cared about every employee in the shop, from the receptionist to the head guy.”

All that while, though, White said he knew Bruce “would end up back in Maine” because he never stopped talking about it.

Then something happened that made it almost inevitable.

MEETING SWEET JANE

To earn some cash to buy textbooks while at Harvard, Poliquin said, he took a job painting metal roofs one summer in Waterville.

Driving an old station wagon for work one day, he got stuck behind “a ding-ding truck” selling ice cream, moving about 2 mph and playing loud, insipid tunes to alert children to its presence.

When it slowed to a stop, Poliquin had to hit the brakes, too.

Then, he said, “out walks this beautiful young lady,” not at all who he expected to see selling cones.

So he hopped out and promptly purchased two Popsicles, whipping out a check to pay for them so she would know his name. He asked for hers at the same time.

That was the beginning of a 17-year fast friendship with Jane Carpenter, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and studied art conservation at the University of Delaware, later working at the Fogg and Peabody museums at Harvard and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Carpenter, whose father founded the art museum at Colby College in Waterville, worked at the Brooklyn Museum’s art restoration laboratory in the 1980s.

When their relationship became more than just friendly, Poliquin said, she finally told him, “Look, buddy, are we getting married or not?”

So they did.

Cyr said they had a nice wedding in Phippsburg. He remembered that Jane was “a very, very smart person” and lovely as well.

“She was just a really sweet person,” White said.

Poliquin told his son “she never said anything bad about anyone, ever.”

After a bit, the couple left New York and moved back to Maine, where they had a house in Cumberland that included a studio for Jane. She gave birth to their son.

They came back to Maine “a year before I was born,” Sam Poliquin said, because his father “didn’t want to raise me” in the elite environment of New York. What he wanted for his son was what he’d had growing up.

White said they were “living the life they had dreamed of.”

Then in February 1992, Poliquin headed for a vacation at the Palmas del Mar resort in Humacao on the southeast coast of Puerto Rico with his wife, 16-month-old Sam and his in-laws.

Surrounded by sunny ocean water, beaches and plenty of palm trees, the resort offered a respite from winter back home in Maine.

Jane and her father, James Carpenter, decided to take a swim.

“They were sitting around the pool,” Cyr said, and “she handed Sammy to Bruce” and told him she was going to take one last swim.

Poliquin gave her a kiss, he told a reporter years later, and told her to be careful.

He never saw her alive again.

A rip current began to sweep Jane away from the beach. She tried to swim against it as her 77-year-old father sought to help. Both drowned.

Poliquin recalled hearing “screams and commotions” and soon learned the pair had vanished. Their bodies turned up hours later on a nearby beach.

“It’s one of the great tragedies, what happened to her,” White said. “It still breaks my heart.”

RAISING SON ALONE

The early years after his wife died were “very hard” on his grieving father, his son remembers.

Poliquin “lost his patience a lot,” his son said, surely caused “by the everyday challenges of raising a child” without his wife.

Fortunately, said Sam, grandparents “stayed with us most weekends” to lend a hand; and his father “had a group of friends, all of whom were mothers, who gave my dad advice on anything and everything from cooking to discipline.”

It took a while, but Poliquin ultimately got the whole solo parenting thing down, at least from his son’s perspective.

“My dad is a very pragmatic and fun guy, and I think that came through in his parenting style,” Sam said. “I think he was a relatively strict father in terms of chores, rules and consequences,” stuff his son is convinced helped him greatly in later years.

“At the same time, my dad gave me a ton of freedom to explore and grow, in ways that few parents would,” he said. “He supported anything I ever did, whether it was music, art, cooking, writing or playing sports.”

Poliquin’s son recalled that “when I was about 5 years old, my dad was having trouble getting me to eat my vegetables and protein for dinner. I would always complain about what he made.”

So his father “wrote up a ‘menu,’ for lack of a better word, of five options for dinner. Handwritten on a legal pad, the five options were something like pasta with butter, pasta with sauce, meatloaf with peas, chicken with peas, and chicken with broccoli.”

Every option had a check box beside it “so I could choose what I wanted him to make. His hope was that I wouldn’t have reason to complain any more about what I chose for dinner,” his son said.

“Of course there was still plenty reason to complain,” Sam added, because his father “wasn’t that good of a cook.”

He said the two of them “really wanted a pet, but I was allergic.”

They managed to solve the problem, though, when they found a hairless cat named Smiley, who lived for 15 years before her death in 2012.

“Anyone who came over thought we had a rodent infestation when they saw her, but my dad and I loved her so much,” Sam said.

He remembers having a list of chores to do as a kid, which “taught me the importance of earning my own money and being fiscally responsible.”

It was something his father emphasized. For instance, “one time in fifth grade I accidentally spilled acrylic paint on the carpet. My dad freaked out and made me pay for a cleaning service with my allowance. It almost bankrupted me, but I definitely learned the importance of accountability,” Sam said.

He recalled having “a frustratingly small allowance to spend at the mall on clothes” and being “the last kid to get a cellphone in 10th grade of high school.”

During college, when he attended Tufts University, every semester his father would have Sam “bring home the tuition bill myself, which we would review at the kitchen table together, along with my grades. He wanted to make sure I understood the expense of my education and wanted to make sure I was going to class and squeezing every dollar out of the experience.”

“To this day, whenever I come home, he reminds me to use only one bath towel for the entirety of my stay,” Poliquin said. “He hates waste.”

In short, “my dad is incredibly frugal, and always has been. He made a point of raising me this way and instilling this in me,” his son said.

The congressman “drives a car from 2008. He wears the same pair of jeans until they wear out. He might have to dress up in a suit for work, but I guarantee you my dad is most comfortable in his sweatpants with his hair sticking straight up,” his son said.

Sam said his father coached baseball “for most of my childhood,” something he kept up for 17 years with enough success that the Portland Press Herald named him Maine’s High School Baseball Coach of the Year in 2003.

His love of baseball obviously spurred Poliquin to coach, but his son said it was more than that.

“He also wanted to teach youth the importance of hard work, focus and having fun to get good results,” Sam said. “I know for a fact that he was a role model for most of his players and a grounding influence in many of their lives.”

While Sam was growing up, the father and son enjoyed themselves.

Hitting a few county fairs every year ranked high on their list of favorite activities, making sure they got on all the rides. One year, Sam said, they managed to hit 10 fairs.

In high school, he said, he dragged his father to Six Flags, where “he didn’t hesitate to go on the upside-down roller coaster with me.”

Every Christmas, they watch the film “Love Actually” together. Sam said his father also “loves end-of-the-world movies, such as ‘The Book of Eli’ and ‘The Road,'” attracted to the latter in part because it’s about a father and son on the move in a bleak landscape

And all along, Poliquin talked about his wife often, telling stories over and over about her.

“Any time something reminded him of her, he would point it out for me,” Sam said.

His father would say things such as: “You know who was an expert on Native American art? Your mother!” or “You know who had an incredible sense of humor? Your mother!”

“And whenever he said he was proud of me, he never failed to remind me that my mom would be proud too,” the congressman’s son said.

“My dad has done an unbelievable job of keeping my mother’s memory present in my life,” Sam said. “I think it comes naturally to him. To this day, it is clear to me how much he loves her and how frequently he thinks of her.”

The two release balloons together on Jane’s birthday, or as close to it as possible if they’re not in the same place. “We never miss a year,” Sam said.

Looking back on his childhood, Sam said he “took for granted how awesome growing up with my dad was.”

“It was just my dad and I, so all the focus and attention was on me,” he said, admitting that “in my adolescent years, that was a lot to handle.”

Sam said he “always wished I had a sibling, but in retrospect, my dad and I formed a very tight bond because of these circumstances.”

“We are incredibly close,” he said. “We talk almost every day.”

That’s probably why Sam can laugh about one thing his father does that makes him cringe.

“My dad knows I hate spiders, so whenever he finds one he puts it in his hand and chases me with it, both of us screaming. This happens at least once a year,” he said.

FROM WALL STREET TO POLITICS

In some ways, at least, Poliquin has never strayed far from his Maine roots.

Poliquin’s official address is an apartment beside 9-mile-long Messalonskee Lake in Oakland where he’s been spending time since childhood. Oakland, located in the 2nd Congressional District, is the next town west of Waterville, which is in the 1st District.

His son said the congressman “has remained best friends with four or five of the kids he grew up with in central Maine” — guys he gets together with for meals, ball games and ice fishing.

It’s the sort of life he wanted for his son, too.

It didn’t take long after his wife’s death for Poliquin to realize that he didn’t want to keep traveling around the country dealing with pension funds for Avatar.

For his son’s sake, and his own, Poliquin had “to find other things to do in Maine” that would keep him close to the home he loved, White said.

So he cashed out of Avatar and plunged into real estate development in Maine.

He had some hits and misses in real estate, but the bottom line is that between his career in finance and his real estate dealings, Poliquin’s personal wealth totaled more than $5 million by 2015, according to his financial disclosure form. OpenSecrets.org, which studies congressional financial forms, estimated he had $11.6 million, putting him well ahead of most House members.

Since then, he has sold the Messalonskee Lake property he got from his parents in 2007, not long after they moved to a senior housing place in Brunswick, where they still reside. That netted him another $450,000. He leases an apartment on the property from the buyers.

He also has a 12-acre place on Maine’s south-central coast in Georgetown where he spends time, as well, which has been written up in architectural magazines.

Cyr said Poliquin opens his house on the shore to his cousins, with whom he is close.

“He’s very, very warm to the family,” Cyr said. “I just love that kid.”

Poliquin got a shock in 2006 when his big brother, Jim — a musician and artist — died after a long period struggling with substance abuse. Cyr said Poliquin used to take him to the doctor sometimes, trying to get him help.

The two brothers had been “incredibly close,” his son recalled, and Jim’s death was difficult for his father, who mentions it occasionally as one reason he is determined to try to help deal with the opioid problems afflicting so many Mainers.

Around that time, in perhaps the most surprising decision of his life, Poliquin decided to leap into politics, taking aim at the governor’s office.

Sam said he never thought his father would seek elective office.

“I knew that current events and political issues interested him but never thought he would become a public figure,” he said.

“But in retrospect, it doesn’t surprise me,” the congressman’s son said. “My dad has always had the desire to help people.”

Sam said his father likely waited until he went off to school out of state because he “didn’t want the job to be a distraction when he was raising me, or have it impact my life when I was growing up.”

In his campaign, Poliquin talked about the hardship of running a business in Maine and the need to bolster the state’s economy so young people could stay instead of heading off to locales with more opportunity.

He got shellacked in the race. But after a stint as state treasurer and another losing race, for U.S. Senate, he jumped at the chance to run for the U.S. House seat four years ago and notched his first win.

On Election Night in 2014, Cyr hugged his grinning nephew during the victory party at Dysart’s, a moment that wound up on the front page of the Bangor Daily News the next morning.

“I was very thrilled about it,” Cyr said, and glad that Poliquin would get a chance to serve in Congress.

‘A HUGE BELIEVER IN AMERICA’

Poliquin, who rarely makes himself available to the press, paused for a while after talking to seniors in Canton to talk to the Sun Journal, to explain why he enjoys serving in a Congress that only 1 American in 6 thinks is doing well and even fewer actually trust.

“I’m a huge believer in America. I love our country. I love our state,” Poliquin said, before adding that he’s worried about what will happen to his 27-year-old son’s generation.

He said lawmakers have a responsibility to protect the nation, its families, its veterans and its seniors — especially those in places such as Maine, where many are largely isolated in rural areas where help is hard to find.

Poliquin said he knows he faces a lot of criticism, particularly on a controversial health care bill that he favored last year, that Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins of Maine played a key role in blocking.

But, he said, he doesn’t listen to “the noise” because to get anything done for his district he has to “block out the distractions” and focus on the tasks at hand.

Poliquin said he learned the importance of doing what he can for his community from his parents.

“We always gave back,” he said. “I know who I am. I know who my family is.”

Through the years that he worked in business and raised his son on his own, Poliquin said, he always looked for ways to lend a hand to others.

“It’s a calling I feel I have,” Poliquin said, one that fits perfectly with what he sees as the honor of serving in the House.

He said it’s the job of legislators “to fix things that are broken” and ensure that the “very special place” that is Maine remains a community that can nourish the dreams of a new generation.

To do that, the congressman said, takes “constant vigilance.”

Poliquin said his business skills help, but government really isn’t like business.

Congress, for example, is “designed to be slow” and to make incremental changes that allow people to adjust over time, Poliquin said. For people in the business world, that plodding pace is frustrating, he said, but it’s what’s required in government.

Poliquin said patience is one of his best skills, along with the ability to listen to what people tell him.

He said he wakes up every morning ready to get to work.

“I don’t have an apartment or a house” in Washington, Poliquin said, pointing out that he sleeps on a pull-down Murphy bed in his congressional office, showers at the congressional gymnasium and focuses from morning to night on doing what he can “for the folks in the 2nd District.”

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/waterville-roots-energy-rapport-with-people-inform-poliquins-quest-those-who-know-him-say/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1045078_483871-Poliquin-Bruce-Sam.jpgU.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin poses with his son, Sam, whom Poliquin raised as a single father. "To this day, whenever I come home, he reminds me to use only one bath towel for the entirety of my stay," Sam said.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:41:41 +0000
Florida man, 87, injured in Phillips collision https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/florida-man-injured-in-phillips-collision/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/florida-man-injured-in-phillips-collision/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:55:48 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/florida-man-injured-in-phillips-collision/ PHILLIPS — A Florida man complained of chest and knee pain Friday after a commercial dump truck collided with his SUV at the intersection of Route 4 and a ramp that connects to Park Street.

A dump truck driven by Leonard Hutchinson, 58, of Carthage was making a left turn onto Route 4 from the ramp and pulled out in front of a 2017 Nissan Rogue driven by E.H. Eudy, 87, of Florida. Eudy’s sport utility vehicle struck the driver’s side front tire of the dump truck, Sgt. Matthew Brann of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office wrote in his report.

Eudy was treated and released by NorthStar EMS ambulance personnel at the scene, Brann wrote.

“(Eudy) was complaining of knee and chest pain as a result of the air bag being deployed,” according to Brann.

Brann issued Hutchinson a summons for failing to yield the right of way.

The rented SUV was towed from the scene.

The 1988 Ford LTL 900 truck was able to be driven away. Hutchinson owns the truck, which had Tall Pines Trucking in Carthage on its door.

Phillips Fire Department assisted Brann at the scene of the accident reported at about 3:28 p.m.

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Police investigating Madison crash https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/police-investigating-madison-crash/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/police-investigating-madison-crash/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:52:35 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/police-investigating-madison-crash/ MADISON — Part of Thurston Hill Road was blocked in both directions for more than two hours Saturday as police investigated a motor vehicle crash that occurred there near U.S. Route 201.

Maine State Police, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office and the Madison Fire Department were at the scene. The crash was reported around 4 p.m., and authorities were still at the scene as of 6:30.

A call to a Somerset County sheriff’s deputy about the crash was not returned immediately.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/police-investigating-madison-crash/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/F6I6722.jpgA wrecker arrives on scene and hauls the remains of a white passenger car from the woods of the Thurston Hill Rd, west of State Route 201 on Saturday evening. Sat, 22 Sep 2018 20:16:07 +0000
Woods takes 3-shot lead at Tour Championship https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/woods-takes-three-shot-lead-at-tour-championship/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/woods-takes-three-shot-lead-at-tour-championship/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:41:48 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/woods-takes-three-shot-lead-at-tour-championship/ ATLANTA — Tiger Woods is three shots ahead and one round away from capping his comeback season with a moment that has defined his career.

Winning.

Woods played the most dynamic golf he has all year Saturday with six birdies in his opening seven holes to build a five-shot lead. He cooled from there with a few mistakes and had to settle for a 5-under 65 and a three-shot lead over Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the Tour Championship.

He has the 54-hole lead for the first time since his last victory in 2013 at the Bridgestone Invitational. He has never lost an official tournament when leading by more than two shots going into the final round, and his closing record with the lead is 42-2 on the PGA Tour.

Woods has never been in better position to show he’s all the way back from four back surgeries that once made him fear he might never play again.

“I’ve gone through a lot this year to get myself to this point, and understanding and fighting my way through it,” Woods said. “I’m certainly much more equipped than I was in March because of what I’ve gone through.”

Woods was at 12-under 198 and will be paired for the first time in final group with McIlroy on the PGA Tour. McIlroy birdied two of his last three holes for a 66.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Steve Stricker and Brandt Jobe topped the Sanford International leaderboard again after another cool and breezy day in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

After matching Jerry Smith and David McKenzie with first-round 7-under 63s, Striker and Jobe each shot 67 to get to 10-under 130 at Minnehaha Country Club. Jobe made an 18-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th, and Stricker missed a 6-footer to leave them tied.

EUROPEAN TOUR: Tom Lewis came within two shots of tying English countryman Oliver Fisher’s European Tour record on another day of low scoring at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura, Portugal.

Lewis returned a 10-under 61 in the third round, just 24 hours after Fisher carded the first 59 on the circuit. Lewis moved to two strokes behind leader Lucas Herbert of Australia.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/woods-takes-three-shot-lead-at-tour-championship/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576586_Tour_Championship_Golf_8555-1.jpgTiger Woods is in position for his first win since 2013 after shooting a 5-under 65 in the third round of the Tour Championship.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:56:12 +0000
Art of sheep shearing returns to Common Ground Country Fair https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/art-of-sheep-shearing-returns-to-common-ground-country-fair/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/art-of-sheep-shearing-returns-to-common-ground-country-fair/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:22:26 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/art-of-sheep-shearing-returns-to-common-ground-country-fair/ UNITY — Jeff Burchstead led a shaggy chocolate-colored sheep into the center of a barn Saturday at the Common Ground Country Fair, maneuvering the animal effortlessly until she flopped down on her hind legs atop his feet, ready for a new haircut.

Then, with the same pattern in mind he’s used on thousands of sheep across Maine, Burchstead brought a razor to the sheep’s belly and began to shave away at its wool.

Next came the crotch, hind legs, rear end and the top of the sheep’s head. Then the neck, left side and right side.

“It’s like people going to the dentist,” Burchstead said, stopping to answer a question about how the sheep was feeling about the shearing demonstration. “Some people go to the dentist and they fall asleep. They love it. Others hate it. They run the gamut.”

After a total of about six minutes, a soft, dark fleece lay on the ground and the newly shaved sheep, her coat soft and short, slipped away.

By his own count, Burchstead is one of just about six or seven professional sheep shearers in the state of Maine.

He shears 2,500 to 3,000 sheep per year as well as some goats and alpacas. This weekend he showed off some of his skills at the fair. The three-day Common Ground Country Fair, now in its 42nd year, is known for its emphasis on organic living, sustainability and local agriculture.

This is the first time in about 10 years the fair has featured sheep shearing, a skill fewer and fewer people are learning how to do, Fair Director April Boucher said.

“It’s not a very lucrative thing to shear sheep, but it’s so vital to our communities,” Boucher said. “Sheep can be a really integral part of the agricultural landscape, so it’s an infrastructure that’s needed, just like processing animals or milling grains.”

Burchstead, 45, began shearing about 15 years ago at Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro and now runs his own farm, Buckwheat Blossom Farm, with his wife, Amy, in Wiscasset. He charges $7 per sheep, plus $3 to trim hooves and a travel fee that varies based on where he’s going — anywhere from York to Van Buren, in the upper reaches of Aroostook County.

The work is challenging and physical, but demand is good, Burchstead said as he put on his shearing uniform of felt moccasins, which slide easily under the sheep’s body during the shearing process and help stabilize the animal; tight pants to prevent the sheep from grabbing on to the cloth legs; and a tucked-in singlet to protect the back and rear end and allow for good arm mobility.

Most sheep get sheared once per year — in the spring — though some also get sheared in the fall, Burchstead said. He uses a mechanical blade, but many shearers still use traditional blades to shear their animals.

Jeff Burchstead holds a pair of manual shears Saturday morning during his sheep-shearing demonstration at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity. Photo by Nikolas Hample

The traditional blades’ advantage is that they can leave more wool on the sheep, helping the animal to regulate its temperature better, depending on the time of year, though they are slower than the mechanical method.

On Saturday, as Burchstead led a Navajo-Churro sheep out of its pen, he explained to a crowd of about 50 people how he approaches each animal, starting with its belly, where the wool is often coarser and dirtier and ends up getting discarded.

Then, he’ll move to the crotch, hind legs, rear end and the top of its head.

Next comes the neck, left side and then the right side. By the end, he’s created a fluffy pile of wool, known as the fleece, that can be washed and processed into yarn.

He said the trick to keeping a sheep comfortable during the process is the positioning of the shearer’s body and having a good temperament.

“It really takes a lot of respect for sheep as an animal and what they can do for us, and respect for that fiber,” Burchstead said. “That’s the key to shearing. It’s hard to be a good shearer if you don’t have that. It’s just a really rewarding profession.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

rohm@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/art-of-sheep-shearing-returns-to-common-ground-country-fair/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1044662_339587-CGF1.jpgJeff Burchstead holds a pair of manual shears Saturday morning during his sheep-shearing demonstration at the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 18:33:27 +0000
Travel remains dangerous in flooded North Carolina https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/travel-remains-dangerous-in-flooded-north-carolina/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/travel-remains-dangerous-in-flooded-north-carolina/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 22:14:47 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/travel-remains-dangerous-in-flooded-north-carolina/ BLADENBORO, N.C. — Travel remained dangerous Saturday in southeastern North Carolina, where the governor warned of “treacherous” floodwaters more than a week after Hurricane Florence made landfall, and urged residents to stay alert for flood warnings and evacuation orders.

Gov. Roy Cooper said nine of the state’s river gauges are at major flood stage and four others are at moderate stage, while parts of Interstates 95 and 40 will remain underwater for another week or more. Emergency management officials said residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed will begin moving into hotel rooms next week.

“Hurricane Florence has deeply wounded our state, wounds that will not fade soon as the floodwaters finally recede,” Cooper said.

South Carolina also has ordered more evacuations as rivers continue to rise in the aftermath of the storm that has claimed at least 43 lives since slamming into the coast more than a week ago.

The small farming community of Nichols, South Carolina, about 40 miles from the coast, was completely inundated by water, Mayor Lawson Battle said Saturday. He called the situation “worse than Matthew,” the 2016 hurricane that destroyed almost 90 percent of the town’s 261 homes. Battle said flooding from Florence has wiped out the 150 or so homes rebuilt afterward.

“It’s just a mess,” said Battle, who was awaiting a visit from Gov. Henry McMaster. “We will try everything we can to come back … but we need to have federal and state help.”

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/travel-remains-dangerous-in-flooded-north-carolina/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575354_florence-lumberton-e718d8fa-bac8-11e8-9812-a389be6690af-2.jpgHomes are surrounded by floodwaters in Lumberton, N.C., in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on Monday. At least 42 people have died in a disaster that seems like it won't end.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 18:18:45 +0000
Congress takes aim at shrinking seats, legroom on passenger planes https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/congress-takes-aim-at-shrinking-seats-legroom-on-passenger-planes/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/congress-takes-aim-at-shrinking-seats-legroom-on-passenger-planes/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 21:26:35 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/congress-takes-aim-at-shrinking-seats-legroom-on-passenger-planes/ WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration would be required to set new minimum requirements for seats on airplanes under legislation to be considered in the House this week, possibly giving passengers a break from ever-shrinking legroom and cramped quarters.

The regulation of seat width and legroom is part of a five-year extension of federal aviation programs agreed to Saturday by Republican and Democratic leaders of the House and Senate committees that oversee air travel.

Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to keep FAA programs running. The Senate will also need to take up the bill this week or both chambers will need to pass a short-term extension.

The bill would prohibit the involuntary bumping of passengers who have already boarded a plane. But in a nod to the power of the commercial airliners, lawmakers declined to include language that would have prohibited airlines from imposing fees deemed “not reasonable and proportional.”

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said lawmakers from both chambers agreed it was time to take action on “ever-shrinking seats.”

In July, the FAA rejected the idea of setting minimum standards for airlines seats and legroom as a safety measure. But Congress may require the FAA to do so.

The room between rows – measured from a point on one seat to the same point on the seat in the next row – has been shrinking as airlines squeeze more seats onto their planes. It was once commonly 34 or 35 inches, and is now less than 30 inches on some planes.

Lawmakers also included provisions to address concerns about increased airport noise levels caused by new flight paths.

The bill would also mandate that flight attendants get a minimum of 10 hours of rest between their shifts and require airlines to communicate better with customers during cancellations and groundings.

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Stakes high as Bill Cosby faces sentencing https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/stakes-high-as-cosby-faces-sentencing/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/stakes-high-as-cosby-faces-sentencing/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 21:23:45 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/stakes-high-as-cosby-faces-sentencing/ Bill Cosby’s sentencing hearing Monday will begin with testimony about his sex offender evaluation and, presumably, a fierce debate over whether the 81-year-old actor should be branded a sexually violent predator.

The stakes are high, given the lifetime counseling, community alerts and public shaming the designation would trigger. And it could become evidence in the defamation lawsuits filed against Cosby by accusers who say he branded them liars when he denied molesting them.

Defense lawyers say the state’s latest sex-reporting law, despite several revisions, remains unconstitutional.

“It’s the modern-day version of a scarlet letter,” said lawyer Demetra Mehta, a former Philadelphia public defender, “which I think is sort of an interesting philosophical issue at this time with the #MeToo movement, but also criminal justice reform.”

Pennsylvania’s sex-offender board has examined Cosby and recommended he be deemed a predator, concluding that he has a mental defect or personality disorder that makes him prone to criminal behavior. Montgomery County Judge Steven T. O’Neill will have the final say Monday.

O’Neill has presided over the case for nearly three years, from shortly after Cosby’s December 2015 arrest to a 2017 trial that ended in a jury deadlock to the jury finding this past April that Cosby drugged and molested a woman at his suburban Philadelphia estate in 2004. He faces anything from probation to 30 years in prison on the three felony counts of aggravated indecent assault.

It’s unclear if the judge, in weighing the predator label, will consider the dozens of other Cosby accusers who have gone public or his deposition in the trial victim’s 2006 lawsuit, when Cosby acknowledged getting quaaludes to give women before sex; described sex acts as the “penile entrance” to an “orifice” and “digital penetration”; and said he often gave young women alcohol but didn’t drink or take drugs himself because he liked to stay in control.

Defense lawyers fighting the predator label note that sexual offender registration laws are in flux in Pennsylvania.

Numerous courts, including the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, have found the laws so vague as to be unconstitutional. Courts have also debated whether the programs unfairly amount to extra punishment, especially for people convicted of misdemeanors. Cosby has added one of the state’s top appellate lawyers, Peter Goldberger, to his defense team.

“This is going to probably be a very important case for sex-offender law when it’s up on appeal,” Mehta said. “It’s an area of law that is just sort of unsettled right now … There’s a lot up on appeal, but there’s not a lot decided.”

Pennsylvania alone now has 2,200 people classified as sexually violent predators, of the more than 20,000 people on its Megan’s Law list of sex offenders. The Megan’s Law group has their names, pictures and towns listed online, but they’re not subject to the same monthly counseling mandates as the “predator” group, and authorities don’t actively warn communities of their nearby presence.

The stigma may not be as paralyzing for a man like Cosby – in his 80s, living in a gated house and presumably not looking for work or going to the local gym. However, it’s one more stain on his reputation.

Legal experts believe a “predator” classification would be a legal finding that Cosby accusers could use in their defamation suits.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/stakes-high-as-cosby-faces-sentencing/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576390_Photo_Gallery_Bill_Cosby_04-1.jpgBill Cosby leaves court in Norristown, Pa., in April after being convicted of drugging and molesting a woman. Associated Press/Matt SlocumSat, 22 Sep 2018 17:54:56 +0000
Windsor Hamfest draws amateur radio fans, users https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/windsor-hamfest-draws-amateur-radio-fans-users/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/windsor-hamfest-draws-amateur-radio-fans-users/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 21:01:10 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/windsor-hamfest-draws-amateur-radio-fans-users/ WINDSOR — Patrick Drake stood outside the beano hall Saturday morning at the Windsor Fairgrounds, waiting for someone to unlock the building.

The 32-year-old from Richmond was waiting to take the test for a license to allow him to become an amateur radio operator at the Technician Class and transmit on amateur radio frequencies. Behind him, scores of people milled around the Windsor Hamfest, looking over the wares for sale at tables set up in rows, searching out the location of the business meeting in the Exhibition Hall, and catching up with friends face-to-face.

Drake, who is a technical sergeant in the Connecticut-based 103rd Civil Engineering Squadron of the Air National Guard, took part in an earthquake simulation exercise earlier in the summer in Wisconsin, where volunteer radio operators with the Salvation Army worked alongside the military and civilian responders taking part.

“I think it’s a good skill to have,” Drake said, crediting a co-worker who already has a license with sparking his interest. “I look forward to using it.”

To prepare, Drake said, he picked up the examination study guide from the American Radio Relay League and took practice tests online and on a smartphone app.

The American Radio Relay League is the national association for amateur radio in the United States whose goal it is to advance the enjoyment of amateur radio. Nationally, the organization has more than 160,000 members.

Bill Crowley, 74, is the section manager for Maine’s ARRL, and he’s been a ham radio operator for more than five decades. He was one of three supervising the exam takers Saturday morning.

“This is traditionally the last one of the year in Maine,” Crowley said.

The interest in ham radio rises and falls over time, he said. The blame for the most recent dip lies at the feet of the internet and the rise of the smartphone, he said, but interest appears to be rising again.

Maine has about 5,000 ham radio operators, including, Crowley said, former Gov. John Baldacci, whom he helped to get a license; and Rodney Scribner, Maine’s former state treasurer and state auditor, who was helping to administer Saturday’s exam.

But ham radio operators are active all over the planet.

In 1964, when Crowley was in the Navy and stationed off San Francisco, he connected with U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, who was in San Francisco for the Republican National Convention before he won the nomination.

He said he also had been in contact with the late King Hussein of Jordan, just one of many political leaders who have been hams.

“It’s a great thing, too, for kids. You learn geography like it’s going out of style,” he said, “because you talk to people from all these places.”

Along with Drake, Dustin Hinds was also taking an exam. The 44-year-old from Windsor was pursuing an upgrade to the General Class license, which allows him to transmit on additional radio frequencies.

“It lets you talk around the world,” he said, “and spend more money.”

For Hinds, ham radio has been an on-again, off-again pursuit. He first started with ham radios when he was 20 and in the Air Force, but other concerns supplanted his interest. Now, he said, he wants to reaffirm his skills and be able to access the high-frequency bands.

Both Hinds and Drake — the only people to take the exams Saturday — passed their tests.

Drake said he felt pretty good about his level or preparation.

“I have a radio, and I am working on getting the rest of the accessories and parts I need to get it all set up,” he said.

While he thinks he’ll pursue the General Class, and eventually the Extra, which allows access to all ham frequencies.

Whether he knew it or not, in getting his license, Drake joined a community.

As he handed Drake his completed paperwork, Scribner, who was presiding over his 100th examination, invited Drake to join the ham radio operators who meet Wednesday mornings at Dave’s Diner in Gardiner to share information and talk.

“It starts at 6 and goes to 7:30,” Scribner said. “You can come at 7 and have a cup of coffee, if that’s all the time you have. You can get acquainted. We’d love to have you.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

jlowell@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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Bannon encourages populists in Italy to push sovereign agenda https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/bannon-encourages-populists-in-italy-to-push-sovereign-agenda/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/bannon-encourages-populists-in-italy-to-push-sovereign-agenda/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 20:03:32 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/bannon-encourages-populists-in-italy-to-push-sovereign-agenda/ ROME — Former Trump strategist Steve Bannon declared Saturday that far-right “patriots” are the “new elite” of Europe as he brought his push for a trans-national, anti-European Union drive to Italy.

The ex-aide to President Trump addressed a forum in Rome organized by a small far-right Italian opposition party.

Bannon was asked if there should be a new “elite” in growing, far-right populist movements.

His reply? The “new elite in this populist movement are the patriots” in society.

He heaped praised on populist leaders, pitting sovereignty movements against Brussels-based European Union influence on the continent.

Among the models he cited was one in Italy’s 6-month-old populist government, which includes hard-line Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who leads the right-wing, anti-migrant League party.

Salvini, who addressed the forum earlier Saturday, said the far-right political spectrum includes “the true defenders of European values.”

The Italian, who is also a deputy premier, said the European Parliament elections in May across the continent offer right-wingers “the occasion to send a force into government in Europe that’s not socialist.”

Bannon, in his comments, encouraged Italy’s populists to push their sovereignty-focused agenda to counter EU policies. He is working to help form a united transnational front to push politics in Europe far to the right.

British parents Tom Evans and Kate James were honored at the forum for their unsuccessful legal battle to keep their toddler son, Alfie Evans, on life support in a British hospital. Far-right figures had focused on the case as an example of the wishes of one family against a “socialist” state.

The 23-month-old child died in April after British judges agreed with doctors that more treatment was futile. He had a degenerative neurological disease that left him with almost no brain function. Pope Francis was among those championing the cause of the parents.

Tom Evans told the forum that a foundation has been set up to help people in a difficult stage of life like Alfie’s parents had endured, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

The political event was organized by the Brothers of Italy party, whose political roots come from a descendant of a neo-fascist party.

Sardinia’s far-right governor, Paolo Truzzo, a Brothers of Italy leader, gave the award to the father, who recounted the drama of his son and who thanked, among others, the pope and the party’s leader, Giorgia Meloni, for their support.

Bannon is planning a roadshow across half a dozen European countries starting this week to galvanize populist leaders and parties into a loose alliance and help gain a bigger foothold for their policies in the European Parliament, Trump’s former strategist said in an interview.

The Brussels-based group, dubbed The Movement and founded by Belgian politician Mischael Modrikamen, plans to highlight the importance of national sovereignty, stronger borders, greater limits on migration and fighting against so-called radical Islam, all as a means to boost nationalist parties in the May parliamentary elections.

The push to unite populist forces gives urgency to concerns among some European Union leaders such as French President Emmanuel Macron at the looming clash of values over the bloc’s future direction. EU leaders meeting in the Austrian city of Salzburg on Wednesday are due to discuss two of the EU’s existential threats, the migration crisis and Brexit, both of which serve as rallying cries for nationalists.

“The individual parties throughout Europe are ‘woke’,” Bannon said in a recent interview in his Washington, D.C., townhouse, adding that he wants enough like-minded candidates to win seats in the EU Parliament to act as a block on pro-EU groups. “Europe’s going to see an intensity and focus among the voters and the media that what is happening is basically going to be a continentwide presidential election.”

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/bannon-encourages-populists-in-italy-to-push-sovereign-agenda/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576206_Italy_Politics_Far_Right_35.jpgFormer Trump strategist Steve Bannon declares at a Saturday forum in Rome that far-right "patriots" are the "new elite" of Europe as he brought his push for a transnational, anti-European Union drive to Italy.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 16:35:26 +0000
Deaths from capsized Tanzania ferry pass 200 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/deaths-from-capsized-ferry-pass-200/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/deaths-from-capsized-ferry-pass-200/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:50:14 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/deaths-from-capsized-ferry-pass-200/ NAIROBI, Kenya — The death toll soared past 200 while a survivor was found inside a capsized Tanzania ferry two days after the Lake Victoria disaster, officials said Saturday, while search efforts were ending to focus on identifying bodies.

The survivor, an engineer, was found near the engine of the overturned vessel, Mwanza regional commissioner John Mongella told reporters. The Tanzanian Broadcasting Corporation, which reported the death toll, said he had shut himself into the engine room.

His condition was not immediately known.

Colorfully painted coffins arrived, and the work would now focus on identifying bodies, Tanzania’s defense chief Venance Mabeyo told reporters at the scene. Families of victims gathered and prepared to claim the dead.

One woman dropped to her knees in the sand next to the covered body of her sister and wept.

“We have found him after three days and now we are transporting his body to Kamasi for burial,” said Temeni Katebarira, the brother of one victim.

Mass graves were dug, and workers continued to haul the dead from the water. Abandoned shoes were scattered on the shore.

“From morning till now we have retrieved more than 58 bodies. This includes both children and adults,” said TropistaTemi, a Red Cross volunteer. “Because of the congestion we have not been able to do full totaling. Later, we will do a full tally.”

But the total number of deaths might never be known. No one is sure how many people had been on board the badly overloaded ferry, which officials said had a capacity of 101. It capsized in the final stretch before shore Thursday afternoon as people returning from a busy market day prepared to disembark, while horrified fishermen and others watched.

Officials on Friday said at least 40 people had been rescued.

President John Magufuli has ordered the arrests of those responsible. He said the ferry captain already had been detained after leaving the steering to someone who wasn’t properly trained, The Citizen newspaper reported.

“This is a great disaster for our nation,” Magufuli told the nation in a televised address late Friday, announcing four days of national mourning.

Pope Francis, the United Nations secretary-general, Russian President Vladimir Putin and a number of African leaders have expressed shock and sorrow.

The MV Nyerere, named for the former president who led the East African nation to independence, was traveling between the islands of Ukara and Ukerewe when it sank, according to the government agency in charge of servicing the vessels.

Accidents are often reported on the large freshwater lake surrounded by Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda. Some of the deadliest have occurred in Tanzania, where aging passenger ferries often carry hundreds of passengers well beyond capacity.

In 1996, more than 800 people died when passenger and cargo ferry MV Bukoba sank on Lake Victoria.

Nearly 200 people died in 2011 when the MV Spice Islander I sank off Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast near Zanzibar.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/deaths-from-capsized-ferry-pass-200/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1576194_Tanzania_Ferry_Capsizes_861.jpgAssociated Press Rescue divers stand on top of the capsized MV Nyerere passenger ferry on Ukara Island, Tanzania, on Saturday. The death toll soared past 200 on Saturday while officials said a survivor was found inside the capsized ferry and search efforts were ending to focus on identifying bodies, two days after the Lake Victoria disaster. Sat, 22 Sep 2018 16:34:45 +0000
Gunmen attack military parade in Iran, killing 25 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/gunmen-attack-military-parade-in-iran-kill-25/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/gunmen-attack-military-parade-in-iran-kill-25/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:40:21 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/gunmen-attack-military-parade-in-iran-kill-25/ TEHRAN, Iran — Gunmen disguised as soldiers attacked an annual Iranian military parade Saturday in the country’s oil-rich southwest, killing at least 25 people and wounding 53 in the bloodiest assault to strike the country in recent years.

The attack in Ahvaz saw gunfire sprayed into a crowd of marching Revolutionary Guardsmen, bystanders and government officials watching from a nearby riser. Suspicion immediately fell on the region’s Arab separatists, who previously only attacked unguarded oil pipelines under the cover of darkness.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blamed the attack on regional countries and their “U.S. masters,” calling the gunmen “terrorists recruited, trained armed and paid” by foreign powers. That further raises tensions in the Mideast as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers is in jeopardy after President Trump withdrew America from the accord.

The attack came as Revolutionary Guardsmen marched in Ahvaz, which like many other places around the country saw an annual parade marking the start of Iran’s long 1980s war with Iraq.

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Central Maine business briefs https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/central-maine-business-briefs-203/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/central-maine-business-briefs-203/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:39:58 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/central-maine-business-briefs-203/ Kennebec Behavioral Health picked as one of 2018 Best Places to Work in Maine

WATERVILLE — Kennebec Behavioral Health recently was honored as one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Maine.

The awards program was created in 2006 and is a project of the Society for Human Resource Management — Maine State Council and Best Companies Group. Partners endorsing the program include Mainebiz magazine, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Maine Department of Labor, the Department of Economic and Community Development and Maine HR Convention. This statewide survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Maine.

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the Best Places to Work in Maine, which included an employee survey to measure the employee experience.

Kennebec Behavioral Health’s chief executive officer, Tom McAdam, said the organization’s designation as one of the 2018 Best Places to Work in Maine validates the purposeful attention that the agency has devoted to recruitment and retention. According to McAdam, “over the last two to three years, our management team has been particularly focused on three things — culture, compensation and benefits. We are pleased that the many staff members who participated in the survey are very satisfied with the direction in which we are moving. This is consistent with our ideas and goals around being a primary service provider of mental health care in central Maine,” he said, according to a news release from KBH.

Kennebec Behavioral Health will be recognized Oct. 9 at the Best Places to Work in Maine awards ceremony and will be listed in a special publication by Mainebiz. The final rankings will be announced at the event.

For more information, visit bestplacestoworkme.com or call Jackie Miller at 717-323-5237.

Bangor Savings buys Auburn site to establish next branch

Bangor Savings Bank President and CEO Bob Montgomery-Rice recently announced that the bank has bought a three-story apartment building located at 170 Turner St., in Auburn. Upon regulatory approval, the site will become the bank’s 61st branch in New England.

The current structure will be replaced by a 5,600 square-foot, one-story, state-of-the-art branch and business office. The opening is scheduled for the late fall of 2019. Bangor Savings Bank has another branch in the area on Lisbon Street in Lewiston.

With a clear focus on employee and customer experience, the bank has been recognized as being among the Best Places to Work in Maine honorees for each of the last 10 years and ranked “Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Retail Banking in New England” by J.D. Power for three out of the last four years.

Thomas College announces new board member Danielle Marquis

Thomas College in Waterville has announced its new board of trustees member Danielle Marquis.

Marquis is a 1999 graduate of Thomas College and an account executive at Higgins & Bolduc Insurance Agency in Oakland.

Marquis leads the Commercial Lines Department. She is a licensed producer-broker and has attained the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriting designation. She is a member of the Maine Independent Agents Association board of directors and enjoys working with various nonprofit organizations in the community. Marquis lives in Sidney on Messalonskee Lake with her husband, Matt, and their son, Mitchell.

15 Camden National Bank employees receive annual recognition awards

Camden National Bank held its annual Employee Appreciation Event on Sept. 17 at the Augusta Civic Center. More than 500 employees traveled from as far north as Calais and as far south as Braintree, Massachusetts, to attend. During the event, all employees were thanked and celebrated, and 15 outstanding employees who had been selected through a companywide nomination process received awards for their commitment to the bank, customers, employees, shareholders and the community, according to a news release from the bank.

The event had a “Trailblazers” theme to recognize innovation and success across the company.

The 2018 Employee Award Winners:

• Officer of the Year: John Everett, senior vice president, director of Commercial Banking for Southern Maine

• Employee of the Year: Marie Cudmore, assistant banking center manager, Kennebunk

• Commitment to Core Values: Tammy Sargent, senior relationship banker, Milbridge; and Kim Cullen, senior vice president, director of portfolio management with Camden National Wealth Management

• Commitment to the Community: Chris Winters, Information Technology Systems administrator; and Chris Abbott, retail banking officer and banking center manager, York

• Commitment to the Employee: Kate Donohue, senior deposit and payment services specialist; and Angela Arbour, vice president and mortgage banking closing and quality control manager

• Commitment to the Shareholder: Amanda Smith, collections specialist; and Terri Tooley, assistant vice president financial reporting officer

• Commitment to the Customer: Hannah Roy, operations specialist; and Lisa Masters, vice president, Camden Financial Consultants

• Commitment to Internal Service: Bonnie Blohm, commercial loan administrator; and Barry King, vice president, senior credit officer

• Bob Daigle Award for Achievement through Innovation: Nat Bell, assistant vice president, senior network engineer

Compiled from contributed releases

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/central-maine-business-briefs-203/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1044322_306727-CamdenNationalBankAw.jpgFifteen outstanding employees received awards for their impressive commitment to Camden National Bank, customers, employees, shareholders and the community. In front from left are Angela Arbour, Amanda Smith, Tammy Sargent, Bonnie Blohm, Kim Cullen and Kate Donohue. In back from left are Chris Winters, Marie Cudmore, Chris Abbott, President and CEO Greg Dufour, Terri Tooley, Lisa Masters, Hannah Roy, Barry King, Nat Bell and John Everett.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 15:43:56 +0000
Lawyers for Kavanaugh accuser say she accepts Senate committee’s request to testify https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lawyers-for-kavanaugh-accuser-say-she-accepts-senate-committees-request-to-testify/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lawyers-for-kavanaugh-accuser-say-she-accepts-senate-committees-request-to-testify/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:33:53 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lawyers-for-kavanaugh-accuser-say-she-accepts-senate-committees-request-to-testify/ WASHINGTON — The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a decades-old sexual assault has accepted a Senate committee’s request to tell her side next week but Christine Blasey Ford wants to resume negotiations over the exact terms of her appearance, her lawyers said Saturday.

It was not immediately clear whether the Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee would agree to more talks with Ford’s team. Also unclear was when she might come to Capitol Hill and she was offering to speak in a public session or a private one. The committee wanted her to appear Wednesday, but she prefers her earlier request for Thursday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

Her lawyers’ letter to the committee’s GOP majority was released just at the 2:30 p.m. deadline set by the chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to respond to the panel’s latest offer. Grassley, R-Iowa, had set a possible Monday vote to decide whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

As Republicans were considering their next move in private talks Saturday, they also made it clear they viewed Ford’s offer as a way to delay voting on President Donald Trump’s pick for the court.

A senior official at the White House said the letter amounted to “an ask to continue `negotiations’ without committing to anything. It’s a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday.” The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the Senate negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The White House views Ford’s potential testimony with trepidation, nervous that an emotional performance might not just damage Kavanaugh’s chances but could further energize female voters to turn out against Republicans in November against the backdrop of the (hash)MeToo movement.

Moreover, the West Wing aides who had urged Trump to remain muted in his response to the accusations worried about how the president might react if she ended up partaking in an hourslong, televised hearing. In a single tweet Friday, Trump broke his silence to cast doubt on Ford’s story in ways Republicans had been carefully trying to avoid.

Trump mused to confidants that the “fake” attacks against his nominee were meant to undermine his presidency, according to a White House official and a Republican close to the White House. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss private conversations.

Other Republicans scoffed at Ford’s willingness to accept the committee’s request to tell her story.

“When?” tweeted the No. 2 GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the committee.

The lawyers for Ford wrote that she “accepts the Committee’s request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh’s sexual misconduct next week.”

Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said many aspects of Grassley’s latest offer were “fundamentally inconsistent” with the committee’s promise of a “fair, impartial investigation.”

They said they remained disappointed by the “bullying” that “tainted the process.” Yet they remained “hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”

It was unclear whether Grassley would permit more negotiations Saturday, with patience among Republicans is running thin. The GOP is facing enormous pressure from its base of conservative leaders and voters to swiftly approve Kavanaugh, who would become the second of President Donald Trump’s nominees to sit on the nation’s highest court, before the Nov. 6 election.

A spokesman for GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a committee member, tweeted that Ford “agreed to nothing. She rejected the committee’s offer to testify Wednesday.”

Earlier Saturday amid the latest deadline standoff Vice President Mike Pence called Kavanaugh “a man of integrity with impeccable credentials.” He expressed confidence that

Republicans “will manage this confirmation properly with the utmost respect for all concerned” and said he expected Kavanaugh to join the high court soon.

Grassley had set a Friday night deadline for the 51-year-old California psychology professor to agree to the committee’s latest offer setting terms for her appearance. Grassley said that if she missed that deadline, he would scrap the hearing and his committee would vote on sending Kavanaugh’s nomination to the full Senate.

Ford’s lawyers asked for another day. In a tweet aimed at Kavanaugh shortly before midnight, Grassley said he was giving them additional time.

“She shld decide so we can move on. I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It’s not my normal approach to b indecisive,” Grassley wrote.

Ford’s accusations and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have left the appeals court judge’s confirmation in jeopardy. And just seven weeks from an election in which

Democrats are hoping to capture control of the House and maybe the Senate, her emergence also has drawn intensified attention to the (hash)MeToo movement’s focus on sexual abuse.

Ford says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s. Kavanaugh has denied doing this and said he wants to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clear his name.

In backing away from his deadline, Grassley underscored the sensitivity with which Senate Republicans have tried handling Ford. Moderate female voters will be pivotal in many races in the elections and the (hash)MeToo movement has elevated the political potency of how women alleging abuse are treated.

In requesting another day to decide, Katz called Grassley’s original deadline “arbitrary” and said its “sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family.”

Earlier Friday, Grassley rejected concessions Ford wanted if she is tell her story publicly before the committee.

Grassley turned down Ford’s request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions. The committee’s 11 Republicans – all men – have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman’s assertion of a sexual attack.

He also rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.

Grassley’s stance reflected a desire by Trump and GOP leaders to usher the 53-year-old Kavanaugh onto the high court by the Oct. 1 start of its new session and before the November elections, when Democrats are mounting a robust drive to grab congressional control.

Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.

Earlier, Trump ended a week of constraint and sarcastically assailed Ford, tweeting that if the episode was “as bad as she says,” she or “her loving parents” surely would have reported it to law enforcement.

Trump’s searing reproach defied the Senate Republican strategy, and the advice of White House aides, of not disparaging Ford while firmly defending his nominee and the tight timetable for confirming him.

The president’s tweet brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party. Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who hasn’t declared support for Kavanaugh, called the remark “appalling.”

Grassley rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses. Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the room where the incident occurred.

Grassley consented to other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.

Ford’s request for security comes after her lawyers said she has relocated her family due to death threats.

Associated Press writer Jonathan Lemire in Bridgewater, New Jersey, contributed to this report.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lawyers-for-kavanaugh-accuser-say-she-accepts-senate-committees-request-to-testify/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1566330_97189-Kavanaugh-1.jpgSupreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's accuser described to The Washington Post a sexual assault decades ago. Associated Press/J. Scott ApplewhiteSat, 22 Sep 2018 17:36:49 +0000
Congo reports Ebola death close to border with Uganda https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/congo-reports-ebola-death-close-to-border-with-uganda/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/congo-reports-ebola-death-close-to-border-with-uganda/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:33:22 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/congo-reports-ebola-death-close-to-border-with-uganda/ KINSHASA, Congo — A Congolese woman who refused an Ebola vaccination and then disappeared has died of the virus near the heavily traveled border with Uganda, which is preparing to begin vaccinations as needed.

The confirmed Ebola death announced by local authorities highlights the challenges health workers are facing in a region of northeastern Congo that had never experienced an outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever before. Authorities have fought rumors and trained community members including traditional healers in efforts to calm and educate nervous residents.

The 32-year-old woman had assisted in the burials of other Ebola victims and health workers had followed her as a possible case, but she refused a vaccination and disappeared from the city of Beni, said the vice governor of Ituri Province, Pacifique Keta.

She died Thursday at a hospital in Tshomia, on Lake Albert.

It is the closest a confirmed Ebola death in the current outbreak has been to Uganda.

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Central Maine Sunday Sept. 22 police log https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/central-maine-sunday-sept-22-police-log/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/central-maine-sunday-sept-22-police-log/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:08:48 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/central-maine-sunday-sept-22-police-log/ IN ANSON, Friday at 6:43 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on High Street.

IN ATHENS, Friday at 1:51 p.m., a traffic stop led to an arrest on Hartland Road.

IN AUGUSTA, Friday at 7:29 a.m., recovered property was reported on Union Street.

7:39 a.m., a 44-year-old Augusta man was issued a summons on a charge of theft of services.

7:45 a.m., theft was reported on Summer Street.

8:47 a.m., theft was reported on Western Avenue.

9:14 a.m., theft was reported on Eastern Avenue.

9:20 a.m., a stray cat was reported on North Street.

9:43 a.m., theft was reported on Eight Rod Road.

10:10 a.m., property was recovered on Cony Street.

10:45 a.m., complaints about animals were made on North Street.

11:01 a.m., a pedestrian check was performed at Western Avenue and Whitten Road.

11:08 a.m., fraud was reported on State Street.

12:18 p.m., a general disturbance was reported on Water Street.

1:34 p.m., a complaint about a wild animal was reported on Bennett Street.

3:57 p.m., a well-being check was requested on Eastern Avenue.

4:32 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Bridge Street.

4:40 p.m., a rescue because of an overdose was requested on Capitol Street.

5:02 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Civic Center Drive.

5:31 p.m., a 48-year-old Augusta woman was issued a summons on a charge of failure to register vehicle.

5:40 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on North Chestnut Street.

5:55 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Senator Way.

6:17 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Willow Street.

8:36 p.m., theft was reported on Stephen King Drive.

8:48 p.m., recovered property was reported on Riverside Drive.

9:12 p.m., a well-being check was requested on Civic Center Drive.

11:40 p.m., a well-being check was performed at Medical Center Parkway and Route 3.

IN CHESTERVILLE, Friday at 5:57 p.m., a structure fire was reported on Pope Road.

IN CLINTON, Friday at 4:32 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Winn Avenue.

7:22 p.m., an unwanted person was reported on Lindseys Way.

9:49 p.m., an arrest was made on Bangor Road.

IN FAIRFIELD, Friday at 6:08 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Prescott Drive.

7:45 p.m., loud noise or music was reported on Main Street.

IN FARMINGTON, Friday at 10:49 p.m., suspicious activity was reported at the Farmington Water Department.

11:15 p.m., a noise complaint was reported on Fairbanks Road.

11:55 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Fairbanks Road.

Saturday at 12:30 a.m., a disturbance was reported on Main Street.

1:31 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Wilton Road.

7:03 a.m., threatening was reported on Marvel Street.

IN JAY, Friday at 10:17 a.m., a vehicle fire was reported on Main Street.

11:01 a.m., juvenile offenses were reported on Community Drive.

11:52 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Lavoie Street.

Saturday at 6:14 a.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Church Street.

IN KINGFIELD, Friday at 11:25 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Salem Road.

IN MADISON, Friday at 9:57 a.m., mischief was reported on Old Point Avenue.

3:05 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Thomas Street.

11:11 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Old Point Avenue.

IN MOSCOW, Friday at 12:49 p.m., assault was reported with no address listed.

IN NORRIDGEWOCK, Friday at 8:30 p.m., a domestic disturbance was reported on Ward Hill Road.

Saturday at 6:57 a.m., burglary was reported on Waterville Road.

IN OAKLAND, Friday at 6:16 a.m., a burglary of a motor vehicle was reported on Belgrade Road.

1:31 p.m., theft was reported on Pleasant Street.

7:12 p.m., a traffic stop led to an arrest on Smithfield Road.

10:46 p.m., criminal mischief was reported on Libby Hill Road.

IN PHILLIPS, Friday at 2:55 p.m., theft or fraud was reported on Smith Road.

IN PITTSFIELD, Friday at 2:26 p.m., a harassment complaint was made on Main Street.

Saturday at 2:18 a.m., a structure fire was reported on West Street.

IN SKOWHEGAN, Friday at 10:23 a.m., an arrest was made on Court Street.

3:55 p.m., disturbance was reported on Fairview Avenue.

5:11 p.m., a report of suspicious activity led to an arrest on Waterville Road.

8:50 p.m., a disturbance was reported on Dane Avenue.

11:10 p.m., violation of bail or protection order was reported on West Front Street.

11:22 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on Madison Avenue.

Saturday at 12:51 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on Water Street.

1:13 a.m., disturbance was reported on West Front Street.

7:22 a.m., theft was reported on Summer Street.

IN SOLON, Friday at 9:20 p.m., a report of a traffic accident led to an arrest on North Main Street.

IN ST. ALBANS, Friday at 1:55 p.m., a scam was reported on Ripley Road.

2:15 p.m., a scam was reported on Ripley Road.

IN WATERVILLE, Friday at 7:28 a.m., an unwanted person was reported on Quarry Road.

11:12 a.m., juvenile offenses were reported in The Concourse.

2:34 p.m., disturbance was reported on Front Street.

2:39 p.m., shoplifting was reported on Waterville Commons Drive.

3:12 p.m., a domestic dispute was reported on College Avenue.

3:23 p.m., burglary was reported on Chase Avenue.

3:52 p.m., shoplifting was reported on Waterville Commons Drive.

4:06 p.m., threatening was reported on College Avenue.

6:37 p.m., disturbance was reported on Front Street.

8:26 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on College Avenue.

Saturday at 12:28 a.m., disturbance was reported on Silver Street.

1:34 a.m., a fight was reported in The Concourse.

2:16 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on High Street.

2:51 a.m., suspicious activity was reported on College Avenue.

IN WEST FORKS, Friday at 3:34 p.m., suspicious activity was reported on U.S. Route 201.

IN WILTON, Friday at 3:36 p.m., kidnapping was reported on Village View Street.

IN WINSLOW, Friday at 8:05 a.m., fraud or forgery was reported on Sam Street.

11:27 a.m., assault was reported on Danielson Street.

11:47 a.m., theft was reported on Cushman Road.

Saturday at 2:36 a.m., a disturbance was reported on Halifax Street.

IN WINTHROP, Friday at 4:16 p.m., fraud was reported on South Road.

4:29 p.m., disorderly conduct was reported on Sturtevant Hill Road.

5:47 p.m., theft was reported on North Gayton Lane.

10:33 p.m., a well-being check was requested on Heritage Woods Lane.

ARRESTS

IN FRANKLIN COUNTY, Friday at 12:50 p.m., Craig Walter Bunnell, 48, of Avon, was arrested on charges of harassment by telephone and violating condition of release.

6:05 p.m., Patrick Grant Wyman, 23, of Kingfield, was arrested on a charge of violating condition of release.

11:47 p.m., Michael D. McLeod, 29, of Carthage, was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence (alcohol).

IN SOMERSET COUNTY, Friday at 3:14 p.m., Brandon Kenneth Neujahr, 31, of Auburn, was arrested on a charge of operating under the influence.

6:02 p.m., Leon R. Moulton, 36, of Norridgewock, was arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court and a charge of attaching false plates.

9:41 p.m., Steven E. Chartrand, 48, of Norridgewock, was arrested on a charge of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon.

11:03 p.m., Robert D. Emond, 36, of Solon, was arrested on a probation hold and a charge of operating under the influence.

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Fire destroys barn, damages house in Pittsfield https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/fire-destroys-barn-damages-house-in-pittsfield/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/fire-destroys-barn-damages-house-in-pittsfield/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 18:59:34 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/fire-destroys-barn-damages-house-in-pittsfield/ A fire early Saturday morning destroyed a detached barn and heavily damaged a single family home on West Street in Pittsfield, according to the Pittsfield fire chief.

The fire, at 162 West St., was reported around 2:18 a.m. Saturday.

It is believed to have originated in the barn and then spread to the house, although the cause of the blaze is being investigated, Pittsfield Fire Chief Bernard Williams said.

Williams said the barn was ruined and there was a large amount of fire, smoke and water damage to the house.

“It’s probably not salvageable,” he said.

The Fire Department still was trying to determine who the owner of the property is later in the day Saturday. Williams said it is for sale, it has been vacant, and no one was at the property at the time of the fire.

An on-duty police officer in the area reported the blaze while making routine checks, Williams said.

He said the Office of State Fire Marshal will be investigating.

Fire crews from Burnham, Detroit and Newport assisted at the scene.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

rohm@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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Lewiston police stings focus on sex traffic organizers, customers https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lewiston-police-stings-focus-on-sex-traffic-organizers-customers/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lewiston-police-stings-focus-on-sex-traffic-organizers-customers/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 18:06:13 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lewiston-police-stings-focus-on-sex-traffic-organizers-customers/ LEWISTON — When police arrested seven women for engaging in prostitution one night earlier this month, they took them to the police station, not the county jail.

Officers asked each woman why she was on the street and whether someone had been compelling her to get cash for sex, then sent them to meet with an advocate, offered shelter and snacks and let the women, who ranged in age from 22 to 56, leave on their own recognizance.

The treatment was starkly different from the men arrested the last few weeks downtown for allegedly engaging prostitutes or, in these cases, undercover agents posing as sex workers. They were booked at Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn, their faces and names publicized by police.

“We’re changing our approach,” police Chief Brian O’Malley said. “We’re going after the sex traffickers as opposed to just publicizing the prostitution arrests and publicizing these women’s names.”

It’s all part of a larger, two-pronged effort to put an end to prostitution in certain problem areas of the city’s downtown: trying to curb demand while at the same time targeting sex traffickers who coerce women through drugs and violence to solicit sex.

Before this new approach, residents had complained about sex workers on neighborhood streets, engaging in sex acts in public, where children were walking home from school. Business complained about prostitution outside their stores.

“Obviously, if people stopped buying people, people wouldn’t sell people,” Assistant District Attorney Nathan Walsh said Friday. His office, like state law, has shifted its view over recent years to see sex workers as victims, often compelled to sell their bodies for cash to feed a drug habit fueled by sex traffickers. In fact, Walsh said, in the majority of cases, these women may have an affirmative defense to the class E misdemeanor crime of engaging in prostitution.

Maine law says anyone compelled to engage in sex for money isn’t guilty. Compulsion includes withholding or threatening to withhold a scheduled drug or alcohol from someone who is dependent on those substances.

“So if the girl out on the street, her drug dealer (or) her supply of heroin is coming from one specific person and that person says: ‘You’re not going to get heroin unless you go out and make money on the street and bring it back to me,’ then that would be an affirmative defense,” Walsh said.

Someone also can be compelled to engage in prostitution in order to repay a debt. If she is fearful that if she doesn’t engage in prostitution, she or someone else will be harmed or property will be damaged, that qualifies as an affirmative defense, he said.

The women who were arrested Wednesday weren’t taken to jail, because state law says the crime of engaging in prostitution isn’t punishable by jail time. For that reason, it wouldn’t be lawful to incarcerate a woman charged with a crime that is punishable only by a fine, Walsh said.

“So, looking at that, we feel as though if they go to jail after arrest, the time they spent (in jail), that criminal sanction of incarceration, in keeping with the spirit of the law, is not an appropriate sentence,” he said.

If someone already has been convicted of that crime within a two-year period, though, jail time is possible, he said. And if a woman were charged with that crime as a first offense and were to violate conditions of her bail, she could be charged with a crime that includes jail time, he said.

Conditions of bail include not being on certain streets, Walsh said.

“It’s a very fine line that we have to walk here,” Walsh said of his office’s approach. “Obviously, the focus is going to be on trafficking. So we’re talking about the commercial sexual exploitation of some of the most vulnerable members of the community.”

Walsh said he understands the perception on the street.

“That’s right at the heart of what we’re trying to do and why it’s such a political issue in the community, too,” he said. “Ethically, as prosecutors, we have a duty to make sure that what we’re doing is in the interest of justice. And you’ve got these folks here who very well may be presenting as having committed a criminal offense, but if there was further investigation behind it, you may say, ‘Holy smokes!’ There’s a much bigger fish behind this that’s at play here.”

An investigation into the seven women is ongoing to determine whether they were trafficked into performing sex acts, he said.

Last week when they were brought to the police station, each of the women, who live in the Twin Cities or are transients, also was offered substance abuse treatment along with myriad other services for victims of sexual assault and abuse.

The women signed bail documents detailing the conditions of their release before they were allowed to leave on their personal recognizance.

Most people engaging in prostitution have a history of trauma, Walsh said, either sexual abuse as children or other abuse that has led to substance abuse.

“What we’re seeing is the symptom of a larger issue of what’s going on with poverty, trauma, possible history of sexual abuse, substance abuse disorder,” he said. “The way to compassionately address that and do justice and protect the community is what we’re trying to do.”

While law enforcement has cracked down successfully on online sex trafficking, effectively eliminating that venue for many patrons, word has spread that certain areas in downtown Lewiston were destination points for “johns,” sparking a growing demand, Walsh said.

Since the city’s sting operation though, demand has dropped significantly, he said, signaling at least partial success.

“Lewiston police have been fantastic,” Walsh said, adding that the police have been working with his office to curb demand through sting operations. In addition to law enforcement, business leaders have worked to help solve the problem, he said.

Chief O’Malley has said sting operations involving “johns” will be ongoing in this city.

As for the women who are trafficked into sex work, support is available, said Hailey Virusso, program manager at Safe Voices’ Sex Trafficking and Exploitation Safe House.

In fact, a new six-bed facility, made possible in collaboration with Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services and the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, will provide a trauma-informed framework for emergency sheltering, building off of its current services, she said.

These groups work to establish rapport with women who have been trafficked, offering services that often include safety planning, advocacy and support, substance use disorder treatment, mental health services, basic necessities and housing, she said.

In 2017, the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault and the Maine Coalition Against Domestic Violence served 200 to 300 survivors of sex trafficking and exploitation in Maine, Virusso said.

“As a community, we should be focusing our energy on helping those being exploited and trafficked as they are being victimized within our community, and it is our job to keep one another safe,” she said.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/lewiston-police-stings-focus-on-sex-traffic-organizers-customers/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1044270_483871-CITomalleyP1231171-.jpgLewiston police Chief Brian O'MalleySat, 22 Sep 2018 14:18:39 +0000
Belgrade Lakes residents awarded for championing environment https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/belgrade-lakes-residents-awarded-for-championing-environment/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/belgrade-lakes-residents-awarded-for-championing-environment/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 17:37:39 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/belgrade-lakes-residents-awarded-for-championing-environment/ Maggie Shannon has a passion for protecting lake quality, both around her home and statewide.

George MacDonald is passionate about recycling and enthusiastic about composting.

Both environmental protectors from the Belgrade area recently received awards for their work from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

At 79, Shannon, who is on medical leave as executive director of the Maine Lakes Society, formerly the Maine Congress of Lake Associations, was given an individual award.

She took up her lake-protector role in 1999 when she and her husband retired to family property on Great Pond in Rome.

“It was a place — after a lot of travel — that meant the most to me,” she said.

Shannon threw herself into the stewardship of Great Pond. “I began to learn the science behind lake quality and degradation, and it became fascinating,” she said.

She now focuses much of her time on LakeSmart, a statewide “education and reward program for lakefront property owners who maintain their homes in ways that protect lake water quality and property values,” according to its website.

LakeSmart has about 750 volunteers.

“The state is mandated by the federal government to protect its water, and it needs to protect all great ponds,” Shannon said. The state has 2,314 great ponds. The remainder of the almost 6,000 lakes are too small to earn that designation.

“Of the seven Belgrade lakes, all of them are considered at risk,” she said. “Three are considered to be impaired.”

This summer $1 million was spent to restore the clarity of East Pond.

“That’s going to give them 20 years,” she said calling it “insurance” against having to do it sooner. “The more we can stop the runoff from getting into the lake, the longer we have to preserve the water quality.” The idea, she said, is to catch the lakes before the water quality is threatened.

An assessment of the shoreland around Great Pond is underway because that lake is considered impaired as well.

“These are lakes that since the 1880s have been heavily publicized, and people … have been drawn here for vacation,” Shannon said. “They are the engine of the economy, plain and simple.”

Jennifer Jespersen, who has been on the Maine Lakes Society board of directors for 10 years and is the president, said via email, “Maggie is an incredibly inspiring and tireless advocate for Maine Lakes. She has an innate knack for motivating people to get off their seats and make a difference — one property, one shoreline and one lake at a time. She is a force to reckoned with at the Legislature, a master educator on all issues related to lakes, and a mentor to many.”

A news release from the EPA says, “The state LakeSmart Program reached about 30 lakes when it started to derail under budget constraints in 2011. Under Shannon’s leadership, the Maine Lake Society took over the program in 2012 and since has spread to over 50 lakes. Shannon also has worked promoting legislation and policies to benefit Maine lakes. Recently, she worked with environmental organizations to promote a bond referendum that would provide $5 million … for tackling runoff pollution.”

MacDonald, 64, who retired from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection in March 2014, received a lifetime environmental merit award at a ceremony at Fanueil Hall in Boston for his 40-year career in protecting the environment.

“I’ve been involved in trash for a long time,” he said.

He is continuing to work with issues related to recycling as well as the Maine Composting School, which has a weeklong session in mid-October at Highmoor Farm in Monmouth.

“We teach the science of composting and the art of composting,” he said, comparing it to baking a cake. “We start out with a recipe that looks like it will work and we may end up tweaking it, maybe adding a little more water than we thought we would need or adding a little more nitrogen or a little more carbon to help dry it up a little bit. That’s the art of composting. It may look good on paper, but in reality it might not be as perfect as we hoped.”

The school teaches thermophilic composting, which involves using heat-loving bacteria to break down biological waste. MacDonald said they shoot for temperature between 135 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit to allow the microorganisms to do the decomposition.

Early in his career he was Brunswick’s solid waste director and astounded by “the stuff that was being thrown away.” He succeeded in reducing the volume of materials going to a landfill.

MacDonald’s experience gives him perspective on the current crisis involving the quality of recycled materials being accepted by China.

That country recently banned 24 kinds of recyclable materials and limited the amount of contamination levels in mixed paper to 1 percent, leaving recycling firms scrambling for buyers for mixed paper and mixed plastics.

“We’ve had these hiccups in the past, and we’ll recover,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald cited the current state recycling rate as 36.5 percent to 38 percent. “People are making the effort,” he said. adding, “There’s always room for improvement.”

He remarked on what the industry terms “the evolving ton” or the changing waste stream.

“What our waste stream consisted of 30 years ago is not what it consists of today. Back then it was 7 percent newsprint,” MacDonald said. That’s dropped to 3 percent.

“People are going to electronic media,” he said. “There’s less paper being generated except for corrugated cardboard, and that’s because of online shopping.”

He also noted that solid waste has been re-dubbed materials management in an effort “to get people to look at what they’re no longer needing as a resource for somebody else.”

The EPA release notes that MacDonald spent 10 years with the federal Soil Conservation Service working with agricultural producers to conserve and improve soil and water resources. He was director of the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling and managed solid waste programs at the State Planning Office and special projects in the office of the DEP commissioner. Since 2012 he has directed the Division of Sustainability for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

Dale Mitchell, of Perry, a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe-Sipayik, Perry, also received an individual award from the EPA.

The news release cites Mitchell’s establishment of the Passamaquoddy Tribal Brownfields Program in 2007, saying he “immediately incorporated it into the fabric of the tribe’s Environmental Department and its mission ‘to preserve, protect, restore, and enhance all tribal lands, water, air and human health and to develop means to monitor and enforce tribal environmental policies.’ Since then, Mitchell has managed 13 Superfund grants and established a Brownfields program that has done site assessments, inspections, and cleanups and has become the tribe’s primary resource for addressing a range of environmental issues.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/belgrade-lakes-residents-awarded-for-championing-environment/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1044246_463149-20180920_GeorgeMac2.jpgGeorge MacDonald, who recently won an award for long career that has involved environmental projects, poses for a portrait Thursday at the Belgrade transfer station.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 15:08:37 +0000
Tom Doak answers Five Questions https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/tom-doak-answers-five-questions/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/tom-doak-answers-five-questions/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 17:26:23 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/tom-doak-answers-five-questions/ Name: Tom Doak

Age: 62

Title: Executive director

Organization: Maine Woodland Owners (formerly Small Woodlot Owners of Maine), Augusta

About: The nonprofit organization provides support and help to Maine’s family woodland owners.

Website: mainewoodlandowners.org

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Right now, it’s trying to reach the next generation of woodland owners. We’re in a major transition of ownership, and 40 percent of the owners in the state are age 65 and older. And so there’s this very large transition going on of land changing hands, and it’s done, 20, 50, 100, 200, 250, 500 acres at a time. It’s a different generation, and their interests are different and the kind of information they want is different and how they want it is different. Our challenge is working with that current generation, which is still incredibly valuable and still owns a tremendous amount of land, but helping at the same time the next generation with some very different things. The next generation wants information electronically, and they want it on a hand-held device. The current generation is about going to meetings, going places and field days and things like that. The new generation wants their information a different way, and some of the information they want is different.

The World War II generation, they had a real interest in timber — not that the next generation doesn’t, but they see the forest a bit different and they have a different interest in it, whether it’s privacy or those kinds of things.

The other thing that’s huge for the public is that the current generation by and large believes in sharing their land. It’s a cultural thing, keeping their land open for bird watchers or anything. I think the next generation will be less tolerant of misuse of their land than the current generation.

The whole issue of the generational transfer is kind of hidden, to be frank with you, because it doesn’t happen in huge acreages. It happens in smaller acres, and people kind of don’t know about it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I think the best advice is: What is it you really need, and what do you really need to accomplish? Understand there are many ways to get there, and don’t let someone tell you there’s only one way to get there. Figure out where you want to be and then figure out the course to get there, but don’t be locked into a particular way or the way it’s always been done. There are many ways to get to the same goal.

A combination of people helped me with my understanding of it and have reinforced it. I have been fortunate in having some people who have rewarded it and said, “I’m glad you figured it out and did it that way.”

How do you foster creativity in yourself or your staff?

I believe in giving people the opportunity. I am not a big detail person, and I just don’t want to hover over a person, to be honest with you. You try to make it clear what the expectation is and you let them figure it out. You will have an employee that has better satisfaction. You’re not saying, “Here’s what I want you to do, and here’s how I want you to do it.”

I am trying to practice that same kind of thing (as the advice I was given).

I am not always perfect at that. I will catch myself once in a while or I will be reminded of it once in a while, which is frankly a good thing. It’s a good reminder.

What’s your greatest concern?

Part of the concern of a nonprofit is raising money. You really want to provide a valuable thing to society. That’s what a nonprofit does. And so you really want to spend the time and effort and money to really deliver something that is really valuable to the public. That’s why we exist. The biggest fear is trying to balance a good product or service with what is really realistic and practical within your financial resources. I don’t know if it’s a fear, but it’s always kind of the worry or the conflict of running a nonprofit.

We have members who donate. Depending on the year, 25 percent to 30 percent of our budget is direct membership. The rest we raise outside that. The rest is entirely uncertain year after year.

You have the same business practices and efficiencies (as for-profit entities). Nonprofits that don’t work at efficiency don’t do well.

Where do you see the organization in five years?

For a period of time, we will be in the dual role of making sure we’re meeting the needs of the current owners and then the next (owners). We’ve been doing it for a while. We recognized that kind of early on. Much more of the information will be electronically based.

The other interesting thing is we run a land trust program. We’re nonprofit, but we pay taxes on all our land. We’re paying $30,000 and $35,000 a year, because we believe in paying taxes where we own land. By the middle of next year, we’ll own 8,000 acres of land. Most of it, 99 percent of it, is donated.

We are seeing a dramatic acceleration in this current generation of owners wanting their legacy to continue, and they are looking for an organization that will continue their kind of stewardship. We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of people talking to us about donations of their forestland, and we will continue that stewardship and management of that land. We only bring in lands that can be managed.

We have doubled the size of the land trust in probably the last six years. I would expect in another five years, you will see it doubling again. These people are longtime stewards. Their children aren’t interested in the land or see owning the land as a burden, or in a few cases (the current generation) doesn’t trust their relatives to manage the way they would like, and they come to talk to us. We’re in the long-term forest management business as part of our land trust, and we will see dramatic changes in that in the future as far as our land base.

We started the land trust in 1990 with a very small piece. It’s always been a program within our organization. We’re not a land trust, if you will; that’s not what we are. We are a nonprofit organization working with family woodland owners. We have added this land trust because we have people who don’t know what to do with their land. We’re permanently protecting this land. This land is not ever going to be developed. It’s open to the public, and it’s actively managed for the public to recreate on it. In the last five or six years it has taken off tremendously. It’s that ramping up the transition from the current generation of landowners to new ones.

Frankly, we have had some amazing gifts lately. Every time we publish those gifts, it makes other people think about their legacy and what they want to see for their land.

We are talking to people all the time. We have 31 parcels pending closing in the next six to eight months. We have in the queue 31 parcels where landowners have said, “We’re giving you this property.” So that’s big. That’s a big change coming for us. They are all over the state. The vast majority are in the range of 50 acres to 500 acres. Most of those lands are in the southern half of the state — the populated areas, if you will.

That next generation, that’s going to drive an awful lot of things in the forestry-related field, this change of land. People think of large owners owning the vast majority of land, but these small owners own about 35 percent of the land in the state and 40 percent of the volume of wood that grows in Maine. Collectively, they are a major player in forestry in the state.

The transition of land to the next generation and what that means for public access to lands — 90 percent of hunting and snowmobiling and ATV riding happens on private land in the state. The landowners get no benefit from it. They allow it because they think they should.

We have to make sure we’re dealing with the problems these landowners have, because they won’t continue to allow this access if we don’t deal with them. That tolerance is definitely going to diminish.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/tom-doak-answers-five-questions/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1044230_872212-TomDoak.jpgTom DoakSat, 22 Sep 2018 13:39:49 +0000
Former priest, Cheverus teacher due to go on trial on sex assault charges https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/22/former-priest-cheverus-teacher-due-to-go-on-trial-on-sex-assault-charges/ Sat, 22 Sep 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1043986 Michael Doherty remembers the moment he finally saw James Talbot in handcuffs.

Talbot has a history of alleged sexual abuse of children dating to the 1970s at Boston College High School in Massachusetts, then at Cheverus High School in Maine. The former Jesuit priest and teacher has settled lawsuits with more than a dozen victims, including Doherty, who is from Freeport.

But Talbot has been convicted only once. He was never prosecuted in Doherty’s case and many others because the statute of limitations at the time had lapsed. Then, in October 2005, Talbot pleaded guilty to raping and sexually assaulting two students decades before in Boston. When Talbot was taken into custody 13 years ago, Doherty made sure he was in the courtroom.

“It was an important moment,” Doherty said. “There’s a different level of satisfaction than there is in the civil litigation. When I had the ability to see him taken into custody in Boston, it was powerful.”

Now Talbot will answer to criminal charges for the second time.

Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday in Cumberland County in his trial for gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact. Neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney has said whether Talbot will again take a plea deal like he did in 2005. If he does not, legal experts said he could face a challenging trial in the context of the broader sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, because jurors are not supposed to have prior knowledge of a case or past experiences that could create bias.

“Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you do know about it,” said Thea Johnson, an associate professor at the University of Maine School of Law.

ALLEGATIONS REACH BACK FOUR DECADES

A grand jury indicted Talbot on the two felony charges last year. He is accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old boy on several occasions in the late 1990s at St. Jude Church in Freeport, where Talbot was a visiting priest. Although details about the current allegations have not been made public in criminal case filings, Talbot settled a lawsuit with the same victim last summer. The Press Herald does not name victims of sexual abuse without their consent.

Talbot, now 80, pleaded not guilty to the crimes in December. He then posted $50,000 cash bail and returned to the Vianney Renewal Center in Dittmer, Missouri, a Catholic Church-run residential facility for troubled or former priests, where he has lived since he was released from prison.

Talbot’s attorney, Walter McKee, declined to comment on the case. The prosecutor from the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for an interview.

The allegations against Talbot go back four decades. He taught at Boston College High School from 1972 to 1980, when he transferred to Cheverus, in Portland, and remained there until 1998. That year, Doherty came forward to say that Talbot had abused him in the mid-80s, when Doherty was a student at Cheverus. Talbot was fired from the school about two months after the accusations were brought to the bishop.

Doherty settled his lawsuit in 2001. Even though prosecutors could not bring criminal charges, his case prompted others to come forward. By 2003, 14 men had settled lawsuits totaling more than $5.2 million. Two years later, Talbot pleaded guilty to the first criminal charges and ultimately served six years in prison. He was later laicized by the Vatican, which means he is no longer a priest.

HOW MUCH WILL JURORS HEAR OF HIS PAST?

Former Jesuit priest James F. Talbot is led away in handcuffs last year from a Portland courthouse. A grand jury indicted Talbot on two felony charges last year. He is accused of sexually abusing a 9-year-old boy on several occasions in the late 1990s at St. Jude Church in Freeport, where Talbot was a visiting priest.

New criminal charges were possible in Maine because the statute of limitations for such crimes against a child younger than 16 was eliminated in 1999 – as long as the statute of limitations had not already expired.

Talbot was one of the priests targeted in The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into the church’s abuse scandal, and the 2015 film “Spotlight” includes references to his victims. In a March 2002 article, the Globe reported that Talbot coached wrestling, as well as soccer, at Boston College High and that he engaged in a “bizarre habit” of wrestling with students who were in various stages of undress, including wearing only athletic supporters.

That investigation rocked the Catholic Church across the globe and led to similar findings in other dioceses. Just this year, a sweeping grand jury report in Pennsylvania revealed more than 300 priests sexually abused children over seven decades.

To ensure a fair trial for Talbot, his defense team is likely to try to weed out candidates who have negative feelings about the Catholic Church or Cheverus High School because of past allegations and investigations.

“You have to peel back layers to determine whether or not a jury is going to reflexively condemn someone based on the allegations alone,” said Tina Nadeau, an attorney who also serves at executive director of the Maine Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Once the jurors are selected, it is unclear how much they would be told about Talbot’s past.

State courts typically do not allow prosecutors to talk during trial about prior convictions for similar crimes, and standards vary across the country for presenting evidence about accusations that have not led to criminal charges.

“The policy rationale is that we don’t want to judge somebody based on their prior bad acts,” Johnson said. “We want to judge them on the facts of this case.”

But Johnson said there are exceptions to that rule. If a defendant testifies at trial, for example, his or her criminal history could be introduced. In other states, other accusers also have been allowed to take the stand to describe a pattern of behavior by the defendant, like the women who testified at Bill Cosby’s most recent sex assault trial.

Stephen Smith, a criminal defense attorney who specializes in sex abuse cases, said he would even ask a judge to exclude evidence about Talbot’s connection to the Catholic Church.

“Once (jurors) heard this person was a former Catholic priest accused of this sort of crime, there may be some prejudices that should not be unleashed,” Smith said.

‘IT’S VALIDATION FOR EVERY VICTIM’

Still, Smith said he almost always prefers to take a sex crime case to a jury trial, rather than a judge at a bench trial. While most people will have a negative gut reaction to allegations of sexual abuse against a child, he said many jurors also have heard about cases in which accusations turn out to be untrue.

“That allows them to consider the possibility of a false allegation,” Smith said.

During the trial, both the prosecution and the defense would need to contend with the amount of time that has passed since the alleged abuse took place.

“That’s a concern for both sides,” Johnson said. “You’re doing this 20 years down the road. How will that affect how people remember things, and how the jury perceives how people remember things?”

Whatever happens, Doherty will be in the courtroom again.

He now lives in Florida, but he was traveling back to Maine this week to support the anonymous victim in this latest case.

“In my case, there was no one,” Doherty said. “The sense that you’re alone is one of the worst things. So that’s really become my focus, to make sure that people don’t feel that they are alone in this process.”

Also present will be Jim Scanlan, one of the victims from Boston College High School whose report of abuse led to the first criminal charges against Talbot. He did not publicly discuss the abuse until late 2015, after viewing the movie “Spotlight.”

Scanlan now lives in Rhode Island. He said the victim in this case should feel pride for bringing Talbot to court.

“It’s validation for every victim, but especially for Talbot’s victims because most don’t get their day in court,” Scanlan said.

Megan Doyle can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

mdoyle@pressherald.com

Twitter: megan_e_doyle

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https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575802_301292-20171201_Talbot_0046-1.jpgA former Jesuit priest, James F. Talbot, appears in court last year. He is accused of sexually assaulting a boy nearly 20 years ago in Freeport. Jury selection is set to begin Monday.Sat, 22 Sep 2018 19:42:30 +0000
Readfield concert barn owner’s home occupancy permit rescinded https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/readfield-concert-barn-owners-home-occupancy-permit-rescinded/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/readfield-concert-barn-owners-home-occupancy-permit-rescinded/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 01:02:46 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/readfield-concert-barn-owners-home-occupancy-permit-rescinded/ READFIELD — “I am still here and I will not vacate.”

Bob Bittar, the owner of a proposed concert barn at 26 Millstream Road, said Friday night he will not leave after the town revoked the barn’s single-family occupancy permit Thursday.

Bittar provided the Kennebec Journal with a scan of the notice on Friday night.

“I stand here to defend the rights of anyone in Maine who owns his or her home,” he said in an email to the Kennebec Journal that also included Town Manager Eric Dyer as an addressee.

The notice, written by the town’s code enforcement officer, Gary Quintal, states that the occupancy permit was “issued/based on erroneous information and has been REVOKED.” It states that the building does not meet life safety codes, according to the state fire marshal’s reply to Bittar’s construction permit.

The notice cites Bittar’s “own recent admission” that the property is being used as a community center for house concerts and ordered the events to stop. Bittar said he meant the property was “the center for a community,” not a community center.

“Let’s not confuse the center for a community with a community center,” he said. “This is childish. It’s the inability to distinguish the difference in words.

“(Readfield) has no commons. There’s no place to even go to,” he added. “Readfield is a pit stop on the way to Augusta and on the way to Livermore.”

Town officials ordered a concert on Aug. 18 to be canceled, and Bittar did so. He held a show later that month, which brought no immediate response by the town.

The Sept. 20 notice said the remedy is to complete the rezoning process through the Planning Board. If he fails to comply with the order, the memo says “the Town will be required to bring Enforcement Action.” It says any town expenses to do with the enforcement actions would be paid by Bittar.

Bittar is in the process of having his property rezoned to hold regular concerts in the recently constructed barn. A three-hour public hearing on Sept. 5 saw no action taken on his proposal and is scheduled to reconvene on Tuesday.

Bittar submitted both an application to the Planning Board to have the rural residential area rezoned as rural and a petition to selectmen asking for the same change. Selectmen, in turn, referred the petition to the Planning Board for a recommendation since it is considering the application for the same thing.

Dyer told the Kennebec Journal earlier this month that the processes are merging and the Planning Board needed to offer a recommendation to the Selectboard. An opinion by the town’s attorney, Stephen Langsdorf, would come before a final Selectboard decision.

Bittar, 78, has long sought permission to offer music at the site, submitting an application to the Planning Board at one point for permission to operate a town event and community center. He later withdrew that application after some neighbors and other residents voiced opposition March 1 at a public hearing.

Bittar’s property is in the rural residential district, which “accommodates low density residential use, agriculture and forestry operations which are compatible with the preservation of Readfield’s rural character, and which are protective of sensitive natural resources and scenic/visual quality,” according to the town’s Land Use Ordinance.

Langsdorf said earlier this month, “Part of the issue here is that this zoning change (Bittar) is asking for allows heavy industrial uses, hotels, motels, bars, sludge spreading. There is a significant question as to whether it is consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.”

Dyer was not available for comment at press time.

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

sshepherd@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @SamShepME

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/readfield-concert-barn-owners-home-occupancy-permit-rescinded/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/986626_155344_20180809_barn_45967.jpgBob Bittar talks about plans for music in his barn on Aug. 9 in Readfield.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 21:09:51 +0000
Texas 3-D gun maker arrested in Taiwan https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/texas-3-d-gun-maker-arrested-in-taiwan/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/texas-3-d-gun-maker-arrested-in-taiwan/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:42:18 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/texas-3-d-gun-maker-arrested-in-taiwan/ TAIPEI, Taiwan — Authorities in Taiwan arrested the owner of a Texas company that sells plans to make untraceable 3-D printed guns who is wanted in the U.S. over an accusation that he had sex with an underage girl and paid her $500 afterward, official media reported.

The Central News Agency said Taiwanese police found and arrested Cody Wilson in a hotel in Taipei on Friday evening.

The Taiwanese news agency said the island’s immigration department would make arrangements for Wilson to return to the U.S. as soon as possible.

Police in Austin, Texas, had earlier reported that Wilson’s last known location was Taipei.

Austin police Cmdr. Troy Officer said Wednesday that before Wilson flew to Taiwan, a friend of the 16-year-old girl had told him that police were investigating the accusation that he had sex with her.

Darren Sartin, supervisory deputy U.S. marshal, said Friday that the agency is aware of Wilson’s arrest and is “engaged” with international partners.

In a court filing this week, Wilson was accused of having sex with the girl at an Austin hotel last month.

A counselor for the teenager reported the accusation to Austin police a week later, according to the affidavit. Wilson met the girl through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com, where she had created an online profile, according to the document.

The girl, according to the affidavit, said they met in the parking lot of an Austin coffee shop before they drove to the hotel. The girl told investigators that Wilson paid her $500 after they had sex and then dropped her off at a Whataburger restaurant.

Wilson is identified in the affidavit as the owner of Austin-based Defense Distributed. After a federal court barred Wilson from posting the printable gun blueprints online for free last month, he announced he had begun selling them for any amount of money to U.S. customers through his website.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia sued to stop an agreement that the government reached with Defense Distributed, arguing that the blueprints for how to print plastic guns could be obtained by felons or terrorists.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/texas-3-d-gun-maker-arrested-in-taiwan/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575466_Taiwan_US_3D_Gun_Lawsuit_54.jpgCody Wilson is accused of having sex with an underage girl and paying her $500 afterward.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:52:22 +0000
Immigration judges balk at case quotas https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/immigration-judges-balk-at-case-quotas/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/immigration-judges-balk-at-case-quotas/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:40:49 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/immigration-judges-balk-at-case-quotas/ WASHINGTON — The nation’s immigration court judges are anxious and stressed by a quota system implemented by Attorney General Jeff Sessions that pushes them to close 700 cases per year to get rid of an immense backlog, the head of the judges’ union said Friday.

It means judges would have an average of about 2 1/2 hours to complete cases – an impossible ask for complicated asylum matters that can include hundreds of pages of documents and hours of testimony, Judge Ashley Tabaddor said.

“This is an unprecedented act, which compromises the integrity of the court and undermines the decisional independence of immigration judges,” she said in a speech at the National Press Club, in her capacity as head of the union. Tabaddor said the backlog of some 750,000 cases was created in part by government bureaucracy and a neglected immigration court system.

“Now, the same backlog is being used as a political tool to advance the current law enforcement policies,” she said.

Curbing immigration is a signature issue for the Trump administration and the jobs of the nation’s more than 300 immigration judges are in a continued spotlight.

They decide whether someone has a legal basis to remain in the country while the government tries to deport them, including those seeking asylum. Tabaddor presides in Los Angeles, where she oversees some 2,000 cases, including many involving juveniles.

The judges are employees of the Justice Department’s Executive Office for Immigration Review, which is overseen by the attorney general – unlike the criminal and civil justice systems, where judges operate independently.

Immigration court judges have repeatedly asked for independence, and Tabaddor brought it up again Friday, calling the current structure a serious design flaw.

A Justice Department spokesman said the union has repeatedly tried to block common-sense reforms that would make the judges’ jobs better, and the proper home for the courts is where they are right now, under DOJ.

Earlier this year, the Justice Department sent a memo to immigration judges telling them they would need to clear at least 700 cases a year in order to receive a “satisfactory” rating on their performance evaluations. Sessions has pushed for faster rulings and issued a directive that prevents judges from administratively closing cases in an effort to decrease the backlog by 50 percent by 2020.

This month, he appointed 44 new judges, the largest class of immigration judges in U.S. history, and has pledged to hire more. He said in a speech to the judges that he wouldn’t apologize for asking them to perform “at a high level, efficiently and effectively.”

Tabaddor wouldn’t say whether the quotas were also putting pressure on judges to deport more people – not just decide cases faster.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/immigration-judges-balk-at-case-quotas/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575434_Immigration_Judges_33999.2.jpgAshley Tabaddor, a federal immigration judge in Los Angeles, is introduced to speak at the National Press Club ​on Friday.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:40:49 +0000
Florence’s floodwaters still rising, 8 days after storm https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/florences-floodwaters-still-rising/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/florences-floodwaters-still-rising/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:31:43 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/florences-floodwaters-still-rising/ GALIVANTS FERRY, S.C. — With muddy river water still washing over entire communities on Friday, eight days after Hurricane Florence slammed into land with nearly 3 feet of rain, new evacuation orders forced residents to flee to higher ground amid a sprawling disaster that’s beginning to feel like it will never end.

At least 42 people have died, included an elderly man whose body was found in a submerged pickup truck in South Carolina, and hundreds were forced from their homes as rivers kept swelling higher.

Leaders in the Carolinas warned residents not to get complacent, warning additional horrors lie ahead before things get much better.

“Although the winds are gone and the rain is not falling, the water is still there and the worst is still to come,” said South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.

Speaking in Las Vegas, President Trump said South Carolina is in for a “tough one” as flood waters keep rising.

“They got hit, but the big hit comes days later and it will be the biggest they’ve ever had,” said Trump, who visited North and South Carolina this week.

While most peoples’ lights are back on in the Carolinas and Virginia and trucks are picking up mountains of storm debris, water draining toward the sea from inland areas is sending rivers over their banks across a wide region.

Rescuers wearing night-vision goggles used helicopters, boats and big-wheeled military vehicles overnight to evacuate about 100 people from a southeastern North Carolina county where high water breached a levee, flooding a town.

In South Carolina, emergency managers ordered about 3,000 people to flee homes along the Lynches River. The National Weather Service said the river could reach record flood levels late Saturday or early Sunday.

In tiny Galivants Ferry, Audra Mauer said she lost her home two years ago when Hurricane Matthew hit and she’s losing it again to Florence. No area improvements were made after Matthew, she said, and a frustrated Mauer has no faith any will happen now.

“They didn’t clean the ditches,” she said. “Same levee. Same dams. What have we been doing for two years?”

About 25 miles nearer to the South Carolina coast, Kevin Tovornik tore out carpet and removed furniture as a preventative measure because he expected flooding at the house he has owned for 20 years in Conway, where the Waccamaw River was still rising. Bridges are starting to close because of flooding, he said, and friends were struck in traffic for hours trying to cross the town of 23,000.

“This is ridiculous. This is the worst I’ve ever seen,” Tovornik said.

Road travel also was a daunting problem in Wilmington, a city of 120,000 people still mostly cut off from the rest of North Carolina. A photograph posted by the state transportation agency showed flowing water and buckled highway asphalt on one of the few passable routes into the city, where officials have distributed food and water to residents.

With the Great Pee Dee River receding, state officials said Interstate 95 in South Carolina would reopen after a safety check, but travelers couldn’t get very far since the highway was still closed in North Carolina because of the flooded Lumber River.

Along the Cape Fear River, David and Benetta White and their four children were given short notice to evacuate overnight as floodwaters swept over their property.

By the time they got loaded into their van, water was waist-high and they had to slog through a foul-smelling soup to get to a neighbor’s pickup.

“We almost lost our lives, I’m here to tell you we did,” said White, whose family previously evacuated last Thursday as Florence, then a hurricane, approached from the Atlantic.

The South Carolina governor estimated damage from the flood in his state at $1.2 billion. In a letter, he said, the flooding will be the worst disaster in the state’s modern history. McMaster asked congressional leaders to hurry federal aid.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said the damage in his state is in the billions of dollars, but there was no way to make a more accurate estimate while flooding continues.

As environmental worries mount, Duke Energy said a dam containing a large lake at Wilmington power plant had been breached by floodwaters, and it was possible that coal ash from an adjacent dump was flowing into the Cape Fear River.

Paige Sheehan, a Duke Energy spokeswoman, said the company didn’t believe the breach at the L.V. Sutton Power Station posed a significant threat for increased flooding to nearby communities because the river is already running high.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/florences-floodwaters-still-rising/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575354_florence-lumberton-e718d8fa-bac8-11e8-9812-a389be6690af-1.jpgHomes are surrounded by floodwaters in Lumberton, N.C., in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on Monday. At least 42 people have died in a disaster that seems like it won't end.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 22:00:59 +0000
Trump delays release of Russia documents https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/trump-delays-release-of-russia-documents/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/trump-delays-release-of-russia-documents/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:31:40 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/trump-delays-release-of-russia-documents/ WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday delayed his own order to declassify and release documents from the FBI’s Russia investigation, saying the Justice Department and U.S. allies have raised security concerns about their disclosure.

The announcement, in a pair of tweets, represented a highly unusual walk-back for a president who has pressed for the release of classified information that he believes will expose “really bad things” at the FBI and discredit special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.

The order threatened to fuel further tension between Trump and a law enforcement community he routinely maligns as biased against him and determined to undermine his presidency.

The move puts on hold at least temporarily Trump’s plan to declassify highly sensitive records from the Russia probe, including a portion of a secret warrant application to monitor the communications of Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser whom the FBI suspected of being a Russian agent.

The Justice Department said it had begun complying with the order, though officials had previously strenuously objected to the release of classified information they said could jeopardize the investigation and compromise secret sources.

On Friday, Trump said that instead of moving forward immediately, the department’s inspector general had been asked to review these documents on an “expedited basis.” He tweeted that he believes the office, which is already reviewing FBI actions in the early stages of the Russia probe, will move quickly.

The president also noted: “In the end I can always declassify if it proves necessary. Speed is very important to me – and everyone!”

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/trump-delays-release-of-russia-documents/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575350_Trump_56412-1.jpg-5bf13-1.jpgPresident Trump speaks at a spending bill signing ceremony at VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System Friday in Las Vegas.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:54:55 +0000
Westminster’s top dog Uno the beagle dies https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/westminsters-top-dog-uno-the-beagle-dies/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/westminsters-top-dog-uno-the-beagle-dies/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:26:58 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/westminsters-top-dog-uno-the-beagle-dies/ Every dog might have its day, but not many ever had a night like this.

Cheered on by a roaring, packed crowd at Madison Square Garden, the playful beagle responded like a true champ.

“Ah-roo!” Uno bayed that evening, a decade ago. “Ah-roo!”

Uno, who became perhaps the most popular pooch to step into a dog show ring, has died. He was 13.

From a president to parades to ballparks, Uno charmed admirers wherever he went.

“He lit everyone’s fire,” longtime dog expert David Frei said. “It’s because he was exactly the kind of dog everyone could imagine on the couch next to them.”

Uno died Thursday at the 200-acre ranch where he lived in Austin, Texas. He was in good health until the last month or so when cancer advanced.

“Everybody loved him,” said Dan Huebner, who manages the ranch for Uno owner Caroline Dowell.

No beagle had won the prestigious Westminster Kennel Club dog show until Uno did good ol’ Snoopy proud, barking his way to the prized silver bowl in 2008. He was clearly the crowd favorite and fans exulted when he was picked, giving the 15-inch champ a standing ovation.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/westminsters-top-dog-uno-the-beagle-dies/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575342_Obit_Uno_The_Beagle_Dog_S3.jpgUno with his trophy after winning Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2008.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:45:31 +0000
Report says alcohol killed over 3 million people in 2016 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/alcohol-killed-over-3-million-mostly-men-in-2016/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/alcohol-killed-over-3-million-mostly-men-in-2016/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:24:30 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/alcohol-killed-over-3-million-mostly-men-in-2016/ GENEVA — Drinking too much alcohol killed more than 3 million people in 2016, mostly men, the World Health Organization said Friday.

The U.N. health agency also warned that current policy responses are not sufficient to reverse trends predicting an increase in consumption over the next 10 years.

In a new report , the WHO said that about 237 million men and 46 million women faced alcohol problems, with the highest prevalence in Europe and the Americas. Europe has the highest global per capita alcohol consumption, even though it has already dropped by 10 percent since 2010.

Around a third of alcohol-related deaths were a result of injuries, including car crashes and self-harm, while about one in five were due to either digestive disorders or cardiovascular diseases. Cancers, infectious diseases, mental disorders and other health conditions were also to blame.

“Far too many people, their families and communities suffer the consequences of the harmful use of alcohol through violence, injuries, mental health problems and diseases like cancer and stroke,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO. “It’s time to step up action to prevent this serious threat to the development of healthy societies.”

The average daily consumption of alcohol by people who consume it is about two glasses of wine, a large bottle of beer or two shots of spirits. Globally, about 2.3 billion people are current drinkers.

The report, the third in a series after ones in 2010 and 2014, relies on 2016 data.

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Woman rescued in Lewiston fire was smoking while on oxygen, officials say https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/woman-rescued-in-lewiston-fire-was-smoking-while-on-oxygen-authorities-say/ Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:15:22 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/woman-rescued-in-lewiston-fire-was-smoking-while-on-oxygen-authorities-say/ LEWISTON — A local woman pulled to safety by firefighters Thursday night from her smoke-filled apartment had been smoking while on oxygen, authorities said Friday.

Rosalie Coulombe, 74, was in the bathroom of her first-floor apartment at 61 Shawmut St. when firefighters found her unresponsive at about 8 p.m.

The fire started on her couch, where Coulombe had apparently been smoking, according to Stephen McCausland, a spokesman for the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Coulombe was taken to Central Maine Medical Center, where she was treated for smoke inhalation and internal injuries. A hospital spokesman said Friday that no information on her condition was being released at the request of her family.

Neighbors said they believed the woman lived alone in the apartment.

Local fire department investigators were joined by the State Fire Marshal’s Office to determine the cause of the fire.

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https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/CITpineSTfireP0921182_0-2.jpgLewiston firefighters work on a man they pulled Thursday night from an apartment at 61 Shawmut St. in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:52:44 +0000
Photos: Sixth-graders take a deep dive into ocean science at Gulf of Maine Research Institute https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/photos-sixth-graders-take-a-deep-dive-into-ocean-science-at-gulf-of-maine-research-institute/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/photos-sixth-graders-take-a-deep-dive-into-ocean-science-at-gulf-of-maine-research-institute/#respond Sat, 22 Sep 2018 00:14:37 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/photos-sixth-graders-take-a-deep-dive-into-ocean-science-at-gulf-of-maine-research-institute/ Students from Greene Central School in Greene, Maine, came to Portland on Friday to work in the LabVenture learning space at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

At LabVenture, students can explore the impact of a changing climate on the Gulf of Maine and its key species, such as black sea bass and lobster, in the state-of-the-art learning environment. Students measure live lobsters, examine plankton under a microscope and analyze data.

Students also can use real NASA satellite data and local fishery data to explore questions about the Gulf of Maine that the institute’s scientists are tackling.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/photos-sixth-graders-take-a-deep-dive-into-ocean-science-at-gulf-of-maine-research-institute/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/49522-20180921_LabVenture4.jpgPORTLAND, ME - SEPTEMBER 21: From left, sixth graders Kavon Graham-Jones, 11, Owen Pelkey, 11, Kitanna Carey, 11, Charlotte Brooke, 11, and Delaney Giroux, 11, pose for their group photo as "The Puffins" research group at LabVenture in the Gulf of Maine Research Institute on Friday, September 21, 2018. The group came with their class from Greene Central School from Greene, Maine to visit the newly re-opened learning space, partially funded by a grant from NASA, students can explore the impact of a changing climate on the Gulf of Maine and its species. (Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer)Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:15:30 +0000
Japan releases space rovers on an asteroid https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/japan-space-rovers-released-on-asteroid/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/japan-space-rovers-released-on-asteroid/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:38:05 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/japan-space-rovers-released-on-asteroid/ TOKYO — A Japanese spacecraft released two small rovers on an asteroid Friday in a mission that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system.

The Japan Space Exploration Agency said the two Minerva-II-1 rovers were lowered from the unmanned spacecraft Hayabusa2 to the asteroid Ryugu. The spacecraft arrived near the asteroid, about 170 million miles from Earth, in June.

JAXA said confirmation of the robots’ safe touchdown has to wait until it receives data from them Saturday.

Hayabusa2 approached as close as 180 feet to the asteroid to lower the rovers, waited for a minute and then rose back to its waiting position about 12 miles above the surface. JAXA said the release went successfully.

The solar-powered rovers’ voltage plunged as night fell on Ryugu, a sign that they are on the asteroid, said Hayabusa project team spokesman Takashi Kubota.

“We are very hopeful,” project manager Yuichi Tsuda said. “I’m excited about seeing the pictures. I want to see the scenery of space seen from Ryugu’s surface.”

The two tiny rovers, each about the size of a cookie jar, are to capture images of the asteroid and measure surface temperatures before a larger rover and a lander are released later. The rovers move by “hopping” up to 50 feet at a time because the extremely weak gravity on the asteroid makes rolling difficult. They can continue jumping as long as their solar panels and power last, JAXA said.

Friday’s release bolstered the project members’ confidence ahead of more difficult maneuvers in the future, Tsuda said.

Hayabusa2 is scheduled to attempt three brief touch-and-go landings on the asteroid to collect samples in hopes of providing clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth. Since it arrived at Ryugu, scientists have been looking for suitable landing sites on the uneven surface, and its first attempt is expected in October.

The spacecraft is due to release a German-French lander called MASCOT carrying four observation devices in early October and a bigger rover called Minerva-II-2 next year.

Hayabusa2, launched in December 2014, is due to return to Earth in late 2020.

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/japan-space-rovers-released-on-asteroid/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1575126_Japan_Space_Probe_14670.j2-1.jpgThis computer graphic image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency shows two drum-shaped and solar-powered Minerva-II-1 rovers that were released on an asteroid on Friday.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:52:05 +0000
Maine investigates restaurant for using marijuana on lobsters before cooking them https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/maine-investigates-restaurant-for-using-pot-on-lobsters/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/maine-investigates-restaurant-for-using-pot-on-lobsters/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:35:40 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/maine-investigates-restaurant-for-using-pot-on-lobsters/ State inspectors are investigating a Southwest Harbor restaurant for using marijuana to try to sedate lobsters before cooking them.

The Maine Health Inspection Program is investigating Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound but it hasn’t issued any findings yet, said Emily Spencer, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that oversees the program. She would not say if the agency had asked the owner, Charlotte Gill, to stop the practice during the investigation.

On Friday, Gill said her infamous “smoked” lobster meat isn’t available to customers right now, but she is confident the restaurant, which she has started calling the official home of the “high-end lobster,” soon will be able to offer cannabis-sedated lobster to informed customers without violating Maine state laws or codes.

“After being contacted by the state, and upon reviewing its present laws and codes applicable to this arena, and then making a few minor adjustments to our procedure, we are completely confident that we will be able to proceed as planned,” Gill said. “Keep in mind this meat is presently not available, and we don’t expect it to be for a little while longer under the circumstances. … Soon though.”

Gill anticipates she will be in compliance with state regulations and able to resume sales of the special lobster meat by mid-October.

“I imagine we will still have a push back from the state on our hands, but we are confident that we will be able to field any issues they may have with us, and do it with grace,” Gill said in an email. “These are important issues and ones that can also benefit not only the lobster, but the industry as well. Truly we are not trying to go against (the state’s) wishes and would love to work with them in order for us all to make this world a kinder place.”

Spencer said it would be up to the Maine Medical Marijuana Program to determine if Gill was using the cannabis appropriately. But the program doesn’t comment on medical marijuana violations, so it would not confirm whether it was investigating Charlotte’s Legendary Lobster Pound or Gill, spokesman David Heidrich said.

Based on Heidrich’s email, the state doesn’t seem to approve.

“Medical marijuana may only be grown for and provided to persons with a marijuana recommendation from a qualified medical provider,” he said. “Lobsters are not people.”

Heidrich also said that recreational marijuana products can be sold only in marijuana stores, and the state has not started issuing licenses for those establishments. The recreational marijuana law also says marijuana cannot be exchanged for any type of payment or service.

The state review came after the story of Gill’s unofficial lobster experiments and her hunt for a humane way to kill them made national headlines this week. Gill is a state licensed medical marijuana caregiver, and has Maine’s blessing to grow marijuana for medical use, but state regulators aren’t sure if that applies to use on animals, or if it violates state health codes.

Gill has been placing lobsters in a covered box with 2 inches of water at the bottom, then blowing cannabis smoke into the water in hopes of sedating the lobsters to make their upcoming deaths less traumatic. According to Gill, the lobsters are calmer after exposure to the cannabis smoke, and do not wield their claws again, even when they are left unbanded.

But lobster scientists are less certain of the sedative effect, noting that lobsters don’t use their claws as weapons, and whether it would make their deaths less traumatic. Many scientists, like former Lobster Institute director Robert Bayer of the University of Maine, note that the lobster nervous system is primitive, like that of an insect, and does not experience the world like a human.

Scientists say dropping a lobster in boiling water destroys that nervous system so fast that they are unlikely to feel anything.

But not everyone agrees. Earlier this year, Switzerland decided to ban boiling live lobsters, citing studies that suggest the crustacean can feel pain. New Zealand instituted the same ban in 1999. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – or PETA – has staged protests at major lobster festivals to draw attention to the practice of boiling lobsters alive.

Recently, Gill had set up a station at the restaurant where customers could request their lobsters be sedated with marijuana before they were boiled or steamed. They still had the option of having their lobster cooked traditionally.

Gill has stopped offering the service, but hopes that by next year all the pound’s lobsters will be sedated before cooking. She believes this method does not infuse the lobster meat with THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana that makes a person feel high. She said THC breaks down at about 400 degrees, and that her cooking methods will heat the lobster to more than 420 degrees, thus making sure there is no possibility of a “carryover effect.”

“The process is for the physical comfort of the lobster, not the consumer,” Gill said on her Facebook page.

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

poverton@pressherald.com

Twitter: PLOvertonPPH

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Puerto Rico board finalizes plan to restructure debt https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/puerto-rico-board-finalizes-plan-to-restructure-debt/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/puerto-rico-board-finalizes-plan-to-restructure-debt/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:33:09 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/puerto-rico-board-finalizes-plan-to-restructure-debt/ SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A federal control board overseeing Puerto Rico’s finances has finalized a debt-restructuring deal that represents nearly a quarter of the U.S. territory’s $70 billion public debt load.

The board said Friday that the deal will be presented next month to a federal judge assigned to Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy case. Officials said the deal represents more than $17 billion in debt service savings.

The agreement involves several groups including those that hold Puerto Rico sales tax bonds. The board said those who hold general obligation bond debt also support the agreement, which economists say could indicate an upcoming deal with them.

Puerto Rico is in a 12-year recession and still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria, which cause more than an estimated $100 billion in damage.

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New federal law allows consumers to freeze credit for free https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/new-federal-law-allows-consumers-to-freeze-credit-for-free/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/new-federal-law-allows-consumers-to-freeze-credit-for-free/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:29:53 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/new-federal-law-allows-consumers-to-freeze-credit-for-free/ Consumers can now freeze their credit for free under a new federal law.

A credit freeze restricts access to your credit file, essentially halting anyone from opening any new credit in your name. The rules used to vary by state, but previously it could cost up to $10 to put a freeze in place. That fee often had to be paid again when someone wanted to unfreeze it for any legitimate uses.

But under a new law that takes effect Friday, consumers anywhere in the U.S. can do so quickly and for free.

Congress passed the law in response to last year’s massive Equifax hack, which exposed the private information of more than 145 million Americans. President Donald Trump signed it into law in May.

The law requires that credit freezes be free for consumers across the country. If the request is made over the phone or online, the freeze must be completed within a day. If the request is made by mail, within three days of receiving the request.

Lifting the freeze is also free and must be done within the hour if the request was made by phone or online; three days if by mail.

Consumers who want to freeze their credit should visit the websites of all three credit reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion – to make their request at each. The FTC also will have links to those pages on its identity theft information website: www.identitytheft.gov.

Additionally, the law allows for a free credit freeze for children under age 16, something that was not previously allowed in all states. This helps prevent criminals from creating fraudulent accounts under a child’s identity, a problem that often goes undetected until they are adults and seek credit of their own.

A credit freeze is considered one of the most effective ways to protect criminals from opening credit in your name. It is different than credit monitoring, which tracks a person’s credit and alerts them of changes in activity.

“Think of a credit freeze as a state-of-the art home security system that keeps the bad guys out,” said Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Creditcards.com. “Versus credit monitoring, which is more like that text message you got from your neighbor after someone already smashed through your living room window and walked off with your big-screen TV.”

While it does provide a layer of security, a credit freeze will not protect you from some other forms of identity theft, such as filing a fraudulent tax return in your name or making charges against an existing account.

And remember that if you freeze your credit, it stops everyone from opening an account – including you. You must use a PIN or other security measure to access your account if you want to unfreeze your credit down the line.

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Former Boston Globe editor addresses UMA students at Convocation https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/former-boston-globe-author-addresses-uma-students-at-convocation/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/former-boston-globe-author-addresses-uma-students-at-convocation/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 23:22:42 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/former-boston-globe-author-addresses-uma-students-at-convocation/ AUGUSTA — “The best stories don’t come to you. You have to go find them.”

Journalist and author Ben Bradlee Jr. delivered the keynote address Friday at the 2018 University of Maine at Augusta Convocation at the Augusta Civic Center. Bradlee reflected on The Boston Globe’s investigation into the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in 2002, which he oversaw as editor.

Each school year at the university is assigned a theme, and this year’s theme is freedom of speech. UMA President Rebecca Wyke said one of the most important aspects of educating students is teaching them critical thinking, especially in a volatile political time.

“Freedom of speech is the freedom to be loose with the facts,” she said during her introduction. “Each of us must then rely on the most hallowed product of the liberal arts educations: our ability to think critically in order to navigate the babble and discern who is behind the information and what is their intent.”

The Globe’s coverage, which showed a systematic cover-up by high-ranking Catholic officials of priests’ sexual abuse of numerous children in the Boston archdiocese, won the Pulitzer Prize in 2003. The reverberations of the story continue today, he said.

“Sexual misconduct actually seems too tame a term to describe what hundreds of priests did in the archdiocese of Boston, mostly to young altar boys,” he said during his address. “These were rapes, really, and they were the ultimate abuse of power committed by men who held positions of moral authority.

“This story took off like nothing I had ever seen before,” he added. “In addition, newspapers around the country began investigating dioceses in their areas and finding the same abuses.”

The investigation was highlighted in the 2015 film “Spotlight,” which won two Academy Awards for Best Screenplay and Best Picture.

“None of us could have dreamed it was possible,” he said of receiving the award. “The movie has had a greater impact than the original stories did.”

Bradlee said the film underscores the importance of investigative reporting by newspapers, which he said is not considered to be as necessary as it once was.

“Mostly this is because newspapers are struggling to survive in the internet era,” he said. “Most young people these days seem not to care about reading a (newspaper) thoroughly.”

Bradlee has ties to Maine, and even Kennebec County. The New Hampshire-born writer graduated from Colby College in 1970.

While he’s out of the newspaper business, he spent 30 years in journalism, including 25 years at The Boston Globe.

“Even though I’m now considered an author, I still consider myself a newspaper guy,” he said.

Bradlee plugged a book he wrote that is scheduled for release Oct. 2 and titled “The Forgotten: How the Abandoned People of One Pennsylvania County Elected Donald Trump and Changed America.” He said Trump dominates the news cycle and it has divided American citizens like never before, calling Trump’s opposition to mainstream media “dangerous.”

“America today is so divided that people can’t even agree on what facts are,” he said. “Most people are retreating to their own sides of the ideological divide.”

The ceremony, a curtain-raiser for the academic year, also recognized 88 Rising Scholars who demonstrated academic achievement. Each scholar is nominated by a faculty or staff member at the university.

One such Rising Scholar is nontraditional student Amy Bley, 22, of Readfield. Bley began her college education at UMA but transferred to a larger university in Canada. She returned to UMA to finish her schooling, a decision her mother, Emily, said was the right move for her.

“She’s really blossomed,” Bley’s mother Emily said. “This has been a great place for her.”

Amy Bley said the theme of freedom of speech is important to all students because they are constantly learning and forming opinions.

“Freedom of speech means, to me, that we can share those opinions whether or not they agree with others in the class,” she said. “(If) we have things we feel strongly about, we should be able to speak about (them.)”

Amy Bley said she “really enjoyed” Bradlee’s address.

“I think it was encouraging to people working on getting an education,” she said. “I think that (it’s) important … to be able to become prominent people in society and share their opinion.”

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

sshepherd@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @SamShepME

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Australian woman, Mexican boyfriend sentenced in Maine on illegal entry charges https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/australian-woman-mexican-boyfriend-sentenced-in-maine-on-illegal-entry-charges/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/australian-woman-mexican-boyfriend-sentenced-in-maine-on-illegal-entry-charges/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 22:41:35 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/australian-woman-mexican-boyfriend-sentenced-in-maine-on-illegal-entry-charges/ An Australian woman and her Mexican boyfriend were sentenced to prison for arranging to have him enter the United States illegally near Calais.

Sarah Louise Branch, 37, of New South Wales was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Bangor by Chief Judge Nancy Torresen to 70 days in prison for encouraging and inducing the illegal entry of Benigno Godinez-Cortez into the U.S. on July 10, U.S. Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced Friday.

Godinez-Cortez, 45, of Ahuacuotzingo, Guerrero, Mexico, was sentenced by Torresen to time served (70 days) for unlawfully re-entering the country near Calais. He pleaded guilty on Aug. 14.

Court records show Godinez-Cortez walked into the U.S. on a railroad trestle near Calais on July 10. He was found by U.S. Boarder Patrol agents shortly after he entered the county. He had previously been deported after a 1994 arrest on immigration charges and did not have immigration documents allowing him to enter the U.S., according to court records.

A Mexican passport, male clothing and photographs of Godinez-Cortez were found in Branch’s van when she tried to go through the port of entry in Calais on the same day. She told border patrol agents she knew Godinez-Cortez, her boyfriend, would not be admitted to the U.S., so she dropped him off “somewhere” near the Canada-United States border, according to court records.

Branch confessed that she told Godinez-Cortez she would cross at the nearest port of entry and pick him up after he contacted her by cellphone, according to court records.

The investigation was conducted by Customs and Border Protection.

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Iraqi restaurant Babylon on Forest Avenue closes https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/iraqi-restaurant-babylon-closes/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/iraqi-restaurant-babylon-closes/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 22:09:57 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/iraqi-restaurant-babylon-closes/ Babylon, an Iraqi and Middle Eastern restaurant at 1192 Forest Ave. near Allen Avenue, has closed.

Nagham Rikan, an Iraqi refugee, and her family opened the restaurant near Morrill’s Corner in 2012. In a note to customers posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, the owners said it was “truly a heartache” to close the business, although they added that they are searching for a new location in Portland, South Portland or Westbrook.

“Words cannot convey the tremendous support we received from Mainers, and if it is one thing we learned from all those years, it is that Maine truly flourish when people come together to support local businesses,” the note read. “We thank each one of you for your support and patience with us. Food brings people from all cultures together, and that is evident through the many relationships we have established through the years. It has been an honor to serve all of you, and thank you all for giving us this opportunity.”

A call late Friday afternoon to the restaurant went straight to voicemail.

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After years of work, cabins for homeless veterans open on Togus campus https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/after-years-of-work-cabins-for-homeless-veterans-open-on-togus-campus/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/after-years-of-work-cabins-for-homeless-veterans-open-on-togus-campus/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 22:04:44 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/after-years-of-work-cabins-for-homeless-veterans-open-on-togus-campus/ TOGUS — Tim Buckmore is delighted by his new digs, even if the cable TV hasn’t arrived yet.

Until this summer, Buckmore, 57, was one of dozens of homeless veterans living in Maine. Now, he’s among 19 veterans who have moved into small houses on a quiet corner of the VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus campus.

For at least seven years, various organizations and agencies have been developing the so-called “Cabin in the Woods” housing project, which cost $5.1 million to build and is located on 11 acres of land that have been leased from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

On Friday, they celebrated the project’s opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that was attended by more than 100 guests and dignitaries. The project is part of a larger effort to end veteran homeless and was developed by Volunteers of America Northern New England, a Brunswick-based group.

Of the roughly 2,280 people who were homeless in Maine last year, 131 were veterans, according to U.S. Census data compiled by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Multiple veterans who have received new housing through Cabin in the Woods said Friday they appreciated the natural surroundings and lack of noise pollution on the 11-acre property, where 21 cabins have been built. Each of the properties are free-standing and contain one or two bedrooms. The site also includes an office and community space, and is within walking distance of the medical facilities on the 500-acre hospital campus.

Buckmore, who worked as a generator mechanic in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 1989, has been intermittently homeless for the last three years. He first learned about Cabin in the Woods from a social worker at the Bread of Life Ministries’ veterans shelter in Augusta. Now, he particularly appreciates the quiet natural setting and the radiant heating that comes out of the floor of his one-bedroom cabin.

“This is really nice and quiet,” said Buckmore, a Gardiner native, during a tour of the pre-furnished home. “I’d like to see more of these go up.”

This past summer, Buckmore suffered two strokes and now uses a cane and wheel chair to move around. As someone who has worked in the mental health field and been diagnosed with depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder, he also hopes the new housing will bring stability to a vulnerable population of veterans.

“There’s a high suicide rate among homeless veterans,” he said. “Something like this can help take their mind off anything bad they’re thinking about.”

Buckmore’s one qualm, he said, is that Spectrum has yet to run cable television to the new homes. But he added, “That could be a blessing in disguise.”

Multiple groups provided funding and donations for the Cabin in the Woods project, including the Maine State Housing Authority, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Home Depot and T.D. Bank Charitable foundations. At the ceremony on Friday morning, officials from some of those groups delivered prepared remarks.

There were also speeches by two members of Maine’s congressional delegation, U.S. representatives Chellie Pingree and Bruce Poliquin, and delegates for U.S. senators Susan Collins and Angus King. Also attending the event was Poliquin’s predecessor as representative of Maine’s 2nd District, Mike Michaud, who served as chairman and ranking member of the House’s Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Another speaker was Ryan Lilly, the former director of the Togus system who was recently elevated to another role in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: director of its New England systems.

Just as some cities have eradicated poverties in their homeless populations, Maine is trying to do the same, Lilly said. After the ceremony, he said the Togus campus still has between 30 and 50 acres that could be developed and that the agency is now considering whether it could lease out land for a similar project oriented toward seniors.

“It was our first experience with this process,” Lilly said. “We’re thinking about what we can do next.”

While there are other housing developments for veterans around the country, Lilly said that Cabin in the Woods is unique because it’s in a secluded area and its units are individual homes, as opposed to apartments.

Another veteran to benefit from the new housing project is Jesse McGahuey, 41, who last month moved into a two-bedroom cabin with his wife Sheena, 33, and their 5-year-old son, Jerrick. While living on federal land isn’t a perfect arrangement, they said that the arrangement has made it considerably easier for McGahuey to attend his weekly medical appointments at Togus.

McGahuey suffered a series of injuries during and outside his service in the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2002. As a child, he suffered a brain injury. Then, when he was working as a heavy equipment operator while stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington, he was pulled under a piece of machinery, injuring his legs and back. Finally, in 2014, he was working at an oil-change business in Waterville when a driver accidentally lost control of her car, giving McGahuey a head injury and exacerbating the previous problems.

After that 2014 accident, McGahuey lost the ability to work or pay for housing. Since then, his family has spent long periods camping outside. They were one of the first families to apply for housing in Cabin in the Woods, and they’re now able stay there with subsidized rental costs.

Now that some stability has been reintroduced to their lives, McGahuey hopes that he can start taking classes at a community college and working again, even if it’s part time. His wife, Sheena, is unable to work and receives disability payments because of medical problems she suffered when giving birth.

“This does ease the pressure of it,” Sheena McGahuey said. “It does help.”

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

ceichacker@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @ceichacker

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/after-years-of-work-cabins-for-homeless-veterans-open-on-togus-campus/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1043466_574678-20180921_Cabinopen2.jpgNew resident Kenneth Pearson, left, chats with Robert Jones, a VA social worker, on his porch on Friday in recently opened "Cabin in the Woods" development at Togus.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 19:15:32 +0000
Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein denies that he proposed secretly taping Trump https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/deputy-attorney-general-rosenstein-denies-that-he-proposed-secretly-taping-trump/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/deputy-attorney-general-rosenstein-denies-that-he-proposed-secretly-taping-trump/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 21:39:24 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/?p=1043382 WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump last year to expose chaos in the administration, according to two people familiar with the discussions. One of the people, who was present when the remarks were made, said Rosenstein was being sarcastic about wearing a “wire.”

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appears before a House Judiciary Committee hearing in late June. Associated Press/Andrew Harnik

The allegations were first reported by The New York Times, which also said that Rosenstein floated the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump as unfit for office.

Rosenstein denied both allegations on Friday. He is a frequent target of Trump’s attacks and the story could add to the uncertainty about his future at the Justice Department, despite his denial.

“The New York Times’ story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution spells out that a president can be declared “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” upon a majority vote of the vice president and the Cabinet.

The Times cited several people, who were not named, who described episodes that came in the spring of 2017 after FBI Director James Comey was fired. The newspaper said its sources also included people who were briefed on memos written by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

The newspaper reported that Rosenstein, frustrated with the hiring process for a new FBI director, offered to wear a “wire” and secretly record the president when he visited the White House. He also suggested that McCabe and other officials who were interviewing to become the next FBI director could also perhaps record Trump, the newspaper reported.

McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement that his client had drafted memos to “memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions.”

McCabe’s memos, which were later turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office, had remained at the FBI until McCabe was ousted in January and McCabe doesn’t know how any reporters could’ve obtained those memos, Bromwich said.

Rosenstein has been a target of Trump’s ire since appointing Robert Mueller as a Justice Department special counsel to investigate potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

He chose Mueller for the job one week after he laid the groundwork for the firing of Comey by writing a memo that criticized Comey’s handling of the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server. The White House initially held up that memo as justification for Comey’s firing, though Trump himself has said he was thinking about “this Russia thing” when he made the move.

As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein oversees Mueller’s work and has made two public announcements of indictments brought by the special counsel — one against Russians accused of hacking into Democratic email accounts, the other against Russians accused of running a social media troll farm to sway public opinion.

On Friday, Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted the Times’ story and said: “Shocked!!! Absolutely Shocked!!! Ohhh, who are we kidding at this point? No one is shocked that these guys would do anything in their power to undermine @realdonaldtrump.”

The story elicited an immediate response from members of Congress.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican who chairs the conservative Freedom Caucus, said in a tweet that “if this story is true, it underscores a gravely troubling culture at FBI/DOJ and the need for FULL transparency.”

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the Times story “must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation.”

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/deputy-attorney-general-rosenstein-denies-that-he-proposed-secretly-taping-trump/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/07/1470390_Trump_Russia_Probe_Rosenste-1.jpgIn this June 28, 2018, file photo, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appears before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. A group of 11 House Republicans have introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:39:24 +0000
Dr. Dora Anne Mills named senior vice president at MaineHealth https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/dr-dora-anne-mills-named-senior-vice-president-at-mainehealth/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/dr-dora-anne-mills-named-senior-vice-president-at-mainehealth/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 21:24:59 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/dr-dora-anne-mills-named-senior-vice-president-at-mainehealth/ Dr. Dora Anne Mills, a former top health official for Maine state government, has been named senior vice president of community health for MaineHealth.

Mills will start in late November and will replace Deborah Deatrick, who holds the same position and will retire in January, according to a MaineHealth news release.

MaineHealth is the parent company of Maine Medical Center and a number of hospitals and health care facilities throughout Maine and Carroll County, New Hampshire.

“We are both fortunate and excited to have Dr. Mills joining our team,” William Caron, president of MaineHealth, said in a statement. “Deb Deatrick has established our organization as a national leader in promoting health and wellness, and Dr. Mills is uniquely qualified to build on that work supporting our vision of ‘working together so our communities are the healthiest in America.'”

Dr. Dora Anne Mills

Mills most recently was vice president of clinical affairs for the University of New England and was previously Maine’s State Health Officer and director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

MaineHealth has undertaken a number of public health initiatives, including the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence, Raising Readers, and Let’s Go!, which promotes healthy living among youths.

Mills also will be a proponent for public health issues for state and national government and do other advocacy work.

“This is a special opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people in Maine and Carroll County, N.H.,” Mills said in a statement. “Always during my time working in public health in Maine, we could count on MaineHealth to be a leader in promoting healthy lifestyles and addressing our most pressing public health concerns. Now, in this role, I get to drive those efforts in partnership with government and community organizations.”

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/dr-dora-anne-mills-named-senior-vice-president-at-mainehealth/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1574662_543684-Dora-Mills-7938-1.jpgDr. Dora Anne MillsFri, 21 Sep 2018 18:03:56 +0000
Kennebec Journal Sept. 21 police log https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/kennebec-journal-sept-21-police-log-5/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/kennebec-journal-sept-21-police-log-5/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 21:07:05 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/kennebec-journal-sept-21-police-log-5/ IN AUGUSTA, on Thursday at 7:19 a.m., police responded to a report of a stray cat on Cony Road. The cat was taken to the animal shelter.

9:14 a.m., suspicious activity was reported by a Mount Vernon Avenue caller.

10:12 a.m., theft of service was reported by a Memorial Circle caller.

11:33 a.m., police conducted a welfare check on Winthrop Street.

12:24 p.m., a disturbance was reported by an Edison Drive caller.

1:40 p.m., an animal problem was reported by a North Belfast Avenue caller.

1:57 p.m., counterfeiting was reported by a Water Street caller.

2:09 p.m., police conducted a welfare check on Water Street.

2:13 p.m., a stray cat was reported by a North Street caller.

2:48 p.m., police investigated a reported burglary from a motor vehicle on Western Avenue.

2:51 p.m., suspicious activity was reported by a Church Hill Road caller.

3:49 p.m., suspicious activity was reported by a Western Avenue caller.

4:31 p.m., police investigated a reported theft on Fieldstone Drive.

4:33 p.m., police responded to an overdose reported by a Cony Street caller.

4:42 p.m., a stray cat was reported by a North Street caller.

4:56 p.m., police investigated a reported theft on Western Avenue.

5:03 p.m., police conducted a welfare check on Civic Center Drive.

5:12 p.m., suspicious activity was reported by an Airport Road caller.

7:48 p.m., suspicious activity was reported by an Eastern Avenue caller.

9:38 p.m., police investigated a reported disturbance on Boothby Street.

On Friday at 2 a.m., suspicious activity was reported by a Pierce Drive caller.

2:52 a.m., police investigated a reported theft on Riverside Drive.

IN GARDINER, on Thursday at 10:31 a.m., criminal threatening was reported by a Fillmore Place caller.

3:31 p.m., trespassing was reported by a Johnson Street caller.

On Friday at 3:55 a.m., police investigated a report of harassment on Brunswick Avenue.

IN VASSALBORO, on Thursday at 6:51 p.m., fraud was reported by a Cross Hill Road caller.

IN WINDSOR, on Friday at 1:40 a.m., police investigated a disturbance on Coopers Mills Road.

ARRESTS

IN AUGUSTA, on Thursday at 7:43 a.m., Christy Bush, 41, of Augusta, was arrested on an outstanding warrant after an investigation on Patterson Street.

12:05 p.m., Justin Poirier, 21, of Augusta, was arrested on a probation violation after a domestic disturbance on Riverside Drive.

4:24 p.m., Stephen Dingus, 36, of Gardiner, was arrested on six outstanding warrants and charges of burglary of a motor vehicle, theft, theft of property between $1,000 and $10,000 in value, forgery, and violating conditions of his release after a report of suspicious activity on Crossing Way.

10:36 p.m., Austin Levesque, 22, of Augusta, was arrested on two outstanding warrants and charges of operating with a suspended license and violating conditions of his release.

SUMMONSES

IN AUGUSTA, on Thursday at 5:32 a.m., Michael Roy, 35, of Lewiston, was summonsed on a charge of operating with a suspended license during a traffic stop on Western Avenue.

12:59 p.m., Jakob Murray, 19, of Belgrade, was summonsed on a charge of failing to register his vehicle during a traffic stop on Western Avenue.

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Waterville bank robbery suspect leads indictment list in Kennbec County https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/waterville-bank-robbery-suspect-leads-indictment-list-in-kennbec-county/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/waterville-bank-robbery-suspect-leads-indictment-list-in-kennbec-county/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:49:30 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/waterville-bank-robbery-suspect-leads-indictment-list-in-kennbec-county/ AUGUSTA — A Waterville bank robbery suspect, who told police he was picking berries when he was found 20 feet from a large amount of cash, has been indicted on a class B robbery charge.

Kevin Lee Barr, 38, of Waterville, is one of a number of people indicted Thursday by a grand jury at the Capital Judicial Center in Kennebec County.

Barr, who has been unable to post the $20,000 cash bail set shortly after his arrest July 10, 2018, remains in the Kennebec County jail in Augusta. The class B robbery charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. The indictment says that Barr committed the theft and threatened to use force against two tellers working at the time.

Authorities credited a GPS tracking device that was included among the cash stolen that day from the KeyBank branch on Kennedy Memorial Drive for allowing the swift apprehension of the suspect.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but it indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.

Here’s a list of other people indicted Thursday:

• George A. Day, 35, of Belgrade, theft by unauthorized taking of merchandise April 20, 2018, from Marden’s Surplus & Salvage in Waterville.

• Brian Diaz, 23, of Winthrop, two counts of aggravated assault, one against a woman and one against a child, and assault on a child less than 6 years old, all July 16, 2018, in Winthrop. Winthrop police say he attacked the woman with a knife and broke two of the 2-year-old boy’s ribs. In court documents, police said Diaz and the woman had been in a domestic relationship for several months and that he was angry about an “apparent break-up.”

• Andrea Fleuriel, 47, of Waterville, domestic violence assault July 15, 2018, in Waterville.

• Jessica J. Fox, 37, of Oakland, theft by unauthorized taking of merchandise June 10, 2018, from Walmart in Waterville.

• Kristina A. Genica, 21, of Waterville unlawful trafficking of fentanyl April 18, 2018, unlawful trafficking of heroin April 24, 2018, and criminal forfeiture of a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV seized April 24, 2018, all in Waterville.

• Skylar Gerry, 27, of Waterville, theft by unauthorized taking of vodka May 7, 2018, from the Hannaford supermarket in Waterville.

• Nicholas S. Glavin, 39, of Gorham, unauthorized use of a vehicle, operating after revocation and violation of condition of release, all July 15, 2018, in Augusta.

• Nicholas G. Page, 18, of Albion, kidnapping, domestic violence assault and obstructing report of crime or injury, all June 30, 2018, in Albion.

• John D. Stratton, 38, of Vassalboro, domestic violence assault and gross sexual assault June 4, 2018, in China.

• Stacy Lynn Young, 38, of Farmingdale, theft by unauthorized taking of more than $1,000 cash, theft by unauthorized taking of an unspecified amount of cash, both from The Big Apple store, Stone Street, and one count of unsworn falsification, all March 20, 2018, in Augusta.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

badams@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @betadams

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/waterville-bank-robbery-suspect-leads-indictment-list-in-kennbec-county/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1043306_201582_20180710_robbery_21.jpgWaterville police Chief Joe Massey, left, and Sgt. David Caron confer July 10 outside the KeyBank branch on Kennedy Memorial Drive in Waterville while investigating a robbery there.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:12:43 +0000
Humane Society Waterville Area has raised $40,000 toward $250,000 goal https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/humane-society-waterville-area-has-raised-40000-toward-250000-goal/ https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/humane-society-waterville-area-has-raised-40000-toward-250000-goal/#respond Fri, 21 Sep 2018 20:45:03 +0000 https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/humane-society-waterville-area-has-raised-40000-toward-250000-goal/ WATERVILLE — Humane Society Waterville Area officials have raised about $40,000 in the first phase of a three-month effort to raise $250,000 to ensure the Webb Road shelter will remain open.

Lisa Oakes, the new president of the society’s board of directors, who is filling in temporarily as the shelter’s director, said Friday that since officials last month announced that the shelter would close in three months if it did not receive significant contributions, people have come out of the woodwork to help.

“They are giving more than they normally would in terms of amounts, and small businesses have been generous as well,” Oakes said Friday. “It’s been really kind of heartwarming, honestly. We’re only $40,000 in. We still need large donors to partner with us. I’m so surprised that not a single donor over $5,000 has approached us so far.”

She said elderly people who likely live on fixed budgets have mailed in $10 checks, and a small business gave as much as $2,000. Every donation helps and is appreciated, she said.

Shelter officials understand they must gain the trust of the communities again since the Humane Society went through a transition over the last year and changed its policies and procedures, according to Oakes. She said officials have been visiting large businesses and talking with municipal officials about their fundraising efforts.

The shelter, which contracts with 24 central Maine communities, charges annual fees as part of their contracts, based on population. Waterville, for instance, pays the shelter $23,200 annually based on $1.48 per capita.

The Humane Society kicked off a capital campaign Aug. 27 in an effort to garner money to save the shelter from shuttering. At the time, Oakes said officials sought to make the shelter sustainable through the campaign and not just to garner an influx of cash.

The fundraiser, called the Save Your Shelter Campaign, will help with operating expenses and repairs to the building, which is about 10 years old, according to Mike Brown, a former board president who now serves as an adviser.

The shelter has worked on policies and procedures since former executive director Lisa Smith’s resignation last October. Her resignation followed an outbreak of feline distemper and the disappearance of two pit bull terriers from the shelter just after a court ordered them euthanized because they had killed a dog and maimed its owner. The former owner of the pit bulls had been allowed for a year to come to the shelter and walk the dogs. She returned to the shelter one day and said the canines had slipped out of their leashes. Those animals have never been found.

The facility was shut down for much of October because of the feline distemper sickness that killed more than three dozen cats and kittens. When the outbreak was in its beginning stages, Smith was on a planned vacation in Indiana but returned to Waterville a few days later.

Brown said last month that the shelter was struggling to meet day-to-day needs and while it should be operating on an annual budget of more than $900,000, it was functioning on much less. Unless it received funding to keep the doors open, it would continue to be a struggle, he said. The facility doesn’t have a large endowment like other shelters have, he said, and most of its funding comes from philanthropy, donations from the community and the town contracts. With more than 150 cats coming in on a fairly regular basis and costing $15 a day to take care of and feed, the shelter had been having difficulty keeping up, particularly with not enough staff members.

The shelter now has 104 cats, 25 dogs, a rabbit and four “pocket pets” including two rabbits, Oakes said Friday. She said the Animal Refuge League in Westbrook recently took some adult cats to help, she said.

Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said Friday night that the shelter matters to the Police Department and the community and he hopes it can remain open.

“It’s very important to us,” Massey said. “We certainly need a place to bring stray animals and injured animals. Obviously, it’s very convenient and it’s in the community.”

If the shelter were to close, police and animal control would be forced to take animals to shelters in Skowhegan or Augusta, and that’s if those shelters have the ability to take them, according to Massey, who met Thursday with Oakes.

He said he hopes shelter officials are able to generate resources through donors and events.

“I would certainly hope that they stay open,” he said. “I hope folks step forward and help with donations.”

Meanwhile, the Humane Society is ramping up fundraising efforts with several events planned for October, including one Oct. 2 at the Red Barn restaurant in Augusta and a Blessing of the Animals event from noon to 2 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Apple Farm in Fairfield.

From 2 to 4 p.m. this Sunday, Lauren Kennedy, a professional videographer from Portland, will film a video for the Humane Society’s Facebook page to include appearances by Waterville firefighters, Miss Maine and two young children who support the shelter, according to Oakes. The Mutts & Motors Car Show will help Sept. 30 at the Waterville Elks Lodge, she said.

The shelter’s board of directors throughout this year has made improvements at the shelter with advice from consultants and staff. It now has a three-year strategic plan that focuses on various efforts, including achieving a sustainable organization that delivers outstanding animal care, according to officials.

The shelter employs 16 full- and part-time staffers, 30 volunteers and, on average, houses 300 animals daily. It serves more than 2,000 animals a year.

Oakes said those wanting to donate to the shelter may do so at hswa.org or through the society’s Facebook page.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

acalder@centralmaine.com

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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https://www.centralmaine.com/2018/09/21/humane-society-waterville-area-has-raised-40000-toward-250000-goal/feed/ 0 https://multifiles.pressherald.com/uploads/sites/2/2018/09/1043294_454712-20180920-shelter-2-e1537563404879.jpgAshley Bowring plays with cats Thursday at the Humane Society Waterville Area shelter.Fri, 21 Sep 2018 18:52:57 +0000