Fall children’s programs have resumed at the Pittsfield Public Library. Story time for ages infant through Pre-K is on Mondays at 10:15 in the Warren Community Room. Stop in for stories, songs, games, and crafts. Book Buddies meets on Mondays at 3:15 in the Children’s Area. Children in grades K-4 … Read more →
Fall children’s programs have resumed at
the Pittsfield Public Library. Story
time for ages infant through Pre-K is on
Mondays at 10:15 in the Warren
Community Room. Stop in for stories,
songs, games, and crafts. Book Buddies
meets on Mondays at 3:15 in the
Children’s Area. Children in grades K-4
will explore stories and participate in
literacy and craft activities.
New for the 2013-2014 school year is a
Reader of the Month program. Children
with library accounts in good standing
become eligible for this recognition by
enthusiastically and regularly checking
out books, and frequently attending
This post was contributed by a community member. Submit your news →
CAMDEN, Maine — The police affidavit filed in order to get an arrest warrant for a man holding a pharmacist hostage at the Rite Aid Monday night offered more details about the ordeal, including that he held her as a “bargaining chip.” The affidavit was filed Friday in Knox County … Read more →
CAMDEN, Maine — The police affidavit filed in order to get an arrest warrant for a man holding a pharmacist hostage at the Rite Aid Monday night offered more details about the ordeal, including that he held her as a “bargaining chip.”
The affidavit was filed Friday in Knox County Superior Court by Camden police. Police obtained the warrant to arrest 34-year-old Robert J. Beerman on charges of kidnapping, terrorizing with a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person and violating a condition of release.
Beerman died Monday night when he shot himself in the head with the sawed-off shotgun that he brought into the pharmacy.
According to the affidavit, Beerman entered the store at about 7:30 p.m. and waved the shotgun around. He ordered customers and all the staff except for the pharmacy manager to leave.
Rockport police Sgt. Travis Ford from the neighboring town arrived early on at the Rite Aid and spoke to Beerman through an intercom at the pharmacy’s drive-up window. Ford spoke with Beerman for a few minutes and the suspect identified himself to the officer, according to the affidavit.
Police were then also able to watch what was going on inside by remotely accessing the Rite Aid surveillance cameras in the store. A still photo of Beerman was taken and Camden police Detective Curt Andrick was able to identify Beerman as well.
Maine State Police negotiators were able to convince Beerman to let the pharmacist out unharmed after about three and a half hours.
The pharmacist told police after her release at 11 p.m. that he demanded drugs from the pharmacy. He also told the woman, who has worked at Rite Aid for the past six months, that he needed her as a “bargaining chip.”
Early on in the nearly eight-hour standoff, Beerman locked the front door to the store on the Elm Street (Route 1) side of the store, locked the back door and pushed a soda machine in front of the back door to prevent anyone from entering.
Maine State Public Safety spokesman Stephen McCausland said earlier this week that state police negotiators were in contact with Beerman by landline telephone on and off throughout the night. Beerman told negotiators that he was not going to harm the woman.
After Andrick got the arrest warrant, state police positioned an armored vehicle with a battering ram on Elm Street in front of the store and over a loudspeaker informed Beerman that he was under arrest and asked him to surrender.
When police got no response, the front door was knocked down, and soon after members of a tactical team entered and found Beerman dead in the employee break room at the back of the store.
Police are investigating where he got the shotgun.
This was the fifth time since 2010 that the Rite Aid in Camden has been robbed for drugs.
PORTLAND, Maine — Independent candidate Eliot Cutler on Friday appeared with GOP business owners who bucked their party to throw their support behind him in this year’s gubernatorial election. The business owners said Cutler’s experience in international commerce as well as government, his dedication to building and expanding “the Maine … Read more →
PORTLAND, Maine — Independent candidate Eliot Cutler on Friday appeared with GOP business owners who bucked their party to throw their support behind him in this year’s gubernatorial election.
The business owners said Cutler’s experience in international commerce as well as government, his dedication to building and expanding “the Maine brand,” and his pledge to keep workers’ compensation costs down made him perfectly suited to help the state’s economy prosper.
The event was held at DiMillo’s restaurant in Portland. Its owner, Steve DiMillo, was one of the businessmen endorsing Cutler.
“I believe he’s the best person for the job, in terms of experience, temperament and ideas,” DiMillo said. “He gets it. He’s a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He has created and grown companies and helped open new markets for Maine products, like lobster. … He’s also worked in government, managing multimillion-dollar budgets and making tough decisions. He knows the difference between helping and getting in the way.”
The other business owners who spoke in favor of Cutler for governor were Tom Moser of Moser Cabinetmakers; Bob Hews of Hews Company, a truck body manufacturer and distributor; and Bri Warner, a former U.S. diplomat turned wholesale pie baker. Jolene Lovejoy, a former GOP lawmaker from Rumford, also endorsed Cutler at the event.
Cutler is running against incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat. In nearly every poll, he has trailed his partisan opponents by wide margins.
Cutler said Friday that the endorsement of Republicans was just one sign of building momentum for his campaign. His campaign announced Thursday that it had raised more than $400,000 from contributors in the last reporting period, and Cutler said Friday that Monday and Tuesday had been his largest 48-hour fundraising period to date.
The independent candidate also referenced recent high-profile appearances by former Democratic U.S. President Bill Clinton and 2016 presidential hopeful Gov. Chris Christie. R-New Jersey, who each stopped in Maine to stump for their party’s Blaine House candidate.
Cutler said the parties could keep their national figures.
“I wouldn’t trade a boatload of ex-presidents or governors with presidential ambitions for the endorsements that I’ve received this morning,” he said. “Unlike Bill Clinton and Chris Christie, these five people actually have a stake in Maine’s future. They’re employing people, they’re paying taxes, they’re investing in our state.”
Watch bangordailynews.com for updates. Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — This year more than 650,000 inmates will be released from American prisons, a figure that breaks down to about 75 newly minted ex-cons every hour of every day. Within three years, the federal government estimates, roughly four in 10 of those former prisoners will be back … Read more →
IOWA CITY, Iowa — This year more than 650,000 inmates will be released from American prisons, a figure that breaks down to about 75 newly minted ex-cons every hour of every day. Within three years, the federal government estimates, roughly four in 10 of those former prisoners will be back behind bars, either because they committed a new crime or violated the conditions of their release.
The reasons for this huge recidivism rate are myriad and interconnected. But chief among the many challenges ex-cons face are finding places to live and work—two tasks required under most rules of release and ones made all the more difficult when they have criminal records. Researchers at Princeton University have found that having a criminal record in New York City, for example, can cut the chances of a black applicant landing a job by as much as 57 percent. (The drop for white ex-cons is 35 percent.) Add to those challenges weak personal support networks and the fact that the phrase correctional system is more aspirational than apt in America, and it’s no wonder that many released inmates find themselves back behind bars.
The federal government has tried to address the recidivism crisis. In 2008, George W. Bush signed the bipartisan Second Chance Act into law, providing millions of dollars for states, local governments, and nonprofits to help ex-cons get on their feet. It has been at the state and local level where the lion’s share of innovation has happened: promising initiatives that provide substance abuse help, job training, and housing assistance. But in addition to the more comprehensive programs in places like Colorado and Hawaii, a more pinpointed effort is underway here in Iowa that could provide a blueprint for the rest of the nation.
The latest government figures suggest that more than half of all jail and prison inmates have mental health issues, a trend that holds true in Iowa. Much has been written about how our justice system fails the mentally ill, from how the police interact with mentally ill people in the first place to how they’re treated while in prison. The mentally ill also face daunting problems upon their immediate release. Consider: A typical inmate who is being treated for mental illness is given a limited supply of medication upon leaving prison, typically between three and 30 days’ worth. Even the 30-day prescription an inmate receives in states like Iowa won’t buy nearly enough time for an ex-con to jump through all the necessary hoops to get a new prescription once he’s on the other side of the prison walls. The average waiting time to see a behavior health provider in Polk County, Iowa’s most populous county, is about three months, and the wait is likely longer for those who live in rural areas with fewer medical resources.
To address this glaring problem, Iowa is experimenting with an elegantly simple solution. Under the Central Pharmacy Pilot Project, an inmate is still given his 30-day supply of medication upon his release but is also handed prescriptions for an additional 60 days of medication. Those prescriptions—for everything from thiothixene for schizophrenia to hydroxyzine for anxiety—can be filled at one of 320 participating pharmacies around the state, at no cost to the inmate. “We found that [the former inmates] were really struggling to get access,” says Jon-Michael Rosmann, the executive director of the Iowa Prescription Drug Corp., a nonprofit that partnered with the state to launch the program. “There are just a lot of things that have to occur. They have to find a place to live, find financial assistance, start a job search—and without access to their medication, the likelihood that all those will occur is incredibly low.”
The logic is obvious. A newly released inmate is more likely to succeed in society if he doesn’t have to make the transition without his meds. By extending the prescription, the government gives the former inmate the time he needs to secure his own medical care—either with the help of a re-entry program or on his own—and a better chance at making the difficult move back into society. (As an added bonus, the Iowa program also helps participants navigate the health care system so they have less to worry about once their 90-day medication supply is up.)
The pilot program has been running for less than two years, but the early returns are promising. Through the program’s first nine months—the last time the stats were compiled—none of the 165 participants had been charged with a violent crime in the first 90 days after his release, compared to 1.6 percent of a similar population of severely mentally ill former inmates who were not in the program. The gains were even more pronounced when it came to the type of smaller violations that can land an ex-con back in prison for violating the conditions of his release. Less than 3 percent of participants suffering from less severe but still chronic mental illnesses had their releases revoked, compared with 11.3 percent of nonparticipants with similar conditions. This is obviously a small population, in which a few cases could potentially skew the results. But it’s a promising start, one that lines up with our intuition that providing medication to people who need it is good public policy.
State spending on corrections quadrupled over the last two decades, making it the fastest-growing area of state budgets other than Medicaid, according to the Pew Center on the States. Together, states are spending more than $50 billion a year on their corrections systems, the bulk of which is funneled to prisons. It costs an average of about $33,000 a year to incarcerate someone in Iowa—that’s $90.81 per day. Given that the state has spent an average of just $93.85 per participant in the pilot program, the initiative seems like a no-brainer, an outlay that will pay for itself if it keeps even a tiny percentage of inmates from reoffending. “It’s such a small investment with such huge returns,” says Rosmann. “And, obviously, it’s the right thing to do.”
The pilot program—originally launched with cash the state Attorney General’s Office won in a pair of class-action suits against two large pharmacy benefit managers, and continued with a settlement from a different suit against a major drugmaker—is set to run for at least another three years. If its early success continues, there’s no reason why other states shouldn’t follow Iowa’s lead. State governments might also consider making a relatively small investment upfront in the form of permanently free prescriptions for mentally ill ex-inmates. Sure, that would cost more than providing medication for 30 or 90 days. But that sort of expenditure would also help a lot of people, and it could help cut down on potentially huge prison bills at the same time.
Josh Voorhees is a senior writer for Slate. He lives in Iowa City.
LINCOLN, Maine — The Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC mill will resume production on Monday after what co-owner Keith Van Scotter described Friday as a 10-day maintenance and backlog-management shutdown, one of several this year. “We have sent people home,” said Van Scotter, who declined to say how many. The … Read more →
LINCOLN, Maine — The Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC mill will resume production on Monday after what co-owner Keith Van Scotter described Friday as a 10-day maintenance and backlog-management shutdown, one of several this year.
“We have sent people home,” said Van Scotter, who declined to say how many.
The mill usually shuts down annually at about this time of year for a week or two of maintenance, but Town Council member Dede Trask told the council Thursday night that workers told her that the mill shutdown sent home more people than usual due to a lack of orders.
“We always have orders,” Van Scotter said, attributing the shutdown to a weak tissue market. “It is a question of how we want to run them most efficiently.”
The shutdown began on Sept. 12 and will end Monday, Van Scotter said.
“We are always working hard trying to do better. It’s been a challenging year,” Van Scotter said. “I don’t think there’s any question about that, but I feel good about our prospects.”
Lincoln Paper employs 200 people, according to its website, lpt.com. The site advertises the mill as the largest producer of deep-dyed tissue in the United States, manufacturing napkins, towels, table covers and other specialty tissue products.
It also produced paper until an explosion at the Katahdin Avenue mill’s recovery boiler in November 2013 forced the layoff of 200 workers in December.
Home Depot announced Thursday that a breach at its U.S. and Canadian stores over a six-month period this year may have put an estimated 56 million payment cards at risk. That would make it the largest compromise of debit and credit cards in the string of cyberattacks that have hit … Read more →
Home Depot announced Thursday that a breach at its U.S. and Canadian stores over a six-month period this year may have put an estimated 56 million payment cards at risk.
That would make it the largest compromise of debit and credit cards in the string of cyberattacks that have hit retailers over the past year.
The breach hit 11 Maine zip codes where the retailer has stores, including Bangor, South Portland, Portland, Auburn, Augusta, Ellsworth and Waterville, based on an analysis of data pulled from a black market website by the blog Krebsonsecurity. Nationwide, the blog’s analysis of the credit card information for sale found it affects customers in 1,822 zip codes.
The attack that hit Target stores during the 2013 holiday season may have gained access to 40 million credit and debit cards, Target has said, although it was later revealed that the personal information of an additional 70 million consumers was also accessed.
Home Depot also said for the first time that the malware that facilitated the breach of its payment terminals “has been eliminated from the company’s systems.”
The home improvement retailer says its ongoing investigation has revealed that cybercriminals use a custom-built malware to evade detection once implanted on the company’s systems.
The string of breaches that have hit U.S. retail stores are thought by many experts to be the work of organized gangs of cybercriminals.
“Every indication is that it’s very much Eastern European,” says Johnson. “They’re incredibly organized. They may not necessarily use advanced technology, but they are very meticulous about their methods.”
“They do their due diligence in researching their targets and find a way into the network,” added Trey Ford, global security strategist at cybersecurity firm Rapid7. “Based on the information available, it’s a sophisticated, well-planned attack designed for a very significant pay day.”
And the 56 million payment cards potentially breached at Home Depot speaks to why big box retailers are great targets for cybercriminals, he says. Cybercrime is essentially a business: Hackers follow the money.
“You can be confident that the largest global retailers such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, Tesco and Metro AG are paying close attention as the investigation continues,” Ford says.
Home Depot said Thursday that it has completed a major security project that fully encrypts its payment data at its point-of-sales terminals in U.S. stores, an upgrade that was launched in January of 2014 — before the breach appears to have begun. Home Depot expects to complete the roll out of a similar system in its Canadian stores by early 2015.
Home Depot’s Canadian stores are already enabled with “Chip and PIN” — a more secure credit card technology that is used in much of the world, but has not yet been widely deployed in the United States. Major payment processors have set an October 2015 deadline for retailers to install such measures or be liable for fraud caused by using outdated methods. Home Depot says “Chip and PIN” will be deployed in all of its U.S. stores by the end of the year.
The company is offering free identity protection services — including credit monitoring — to customers who used a payment card at a Home Depot store after April of this year.
“We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused, and want to reassure them that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges,” said Home Depot chief executive Frank Blake in a statement.
Unfortunately, beyond regularly checking their bank or credit card statements, experts say there’s little individual consumers can do to protect themselves at this point. “There’s not a whole lot of power consumers have,” says Ben Johnson of cybersecurity firm Bit9+Carbon Black. Even if consumers start monitoring their accounts now, they are still susceptible to fraudulent activities that may have occurred during the months before the breach was discovered, he says.
Johnson also worries that the frequency of breaches and the fact that payment card processors often end up covering the losses may desensitize consumers. “If people are exposed to this every week and not feeling it in their wallet, they may not really care.”
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Undefeated junior welterweight Brandon “The Cannon” Berry of West Forks improved his record to 7-0 with a first-round stoppage of Theo Desjardin during the 13th annual Fight to Educate boxing show at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday night. Berry knocked down Desjardin (0-4) with a … Read more →
MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Undefeated junior welterweight Brandon “The Cannon” Berry of West Forks improved his record to 7-0 with a first-round stoppage of Theo Desjardin during the 13th annual Fight to Educate boxing show at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Thursday night.
Berry knocked down Desjardin (0-4) with a straight right hand, and while Desjardin got back to his feet before the 10-count, the North Attleboro, Massachusetts, product was wobbly on his legs and the referee stopped the bout at 2:18 of the opening round, awarding Berry a technical knockout victory.
What was scheduled as Berry’s first six-round bout was instead the fifth career knockout for the fighter, who trains out of Wyman’s Boxing Club in Stockton Springs. Berry is slated to fight next on Oct. 11 at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston and then on Nov. 15 at the Portland Exposition Building.
Another Maine pro, undefeated super middleweight Russell “The Haitian Sensation” Lamour of Portland, improved to 10-0 with five knockouts when Dennis Ogboo (7-8, 6 KOs) of Lexington, Kentucky, was unable to answer the bell for the third round of their bout.
Vermont junior middleweight Chris Gilbert won the Fight to Educate’s eight-round main event, improving his record to 12-1 by scoring a narrow unanimous decision over previously undefeated Steve Matthews (4-1) of Greensboro, North Carolina.
In the co-feature, unbeaten Whitman, Massachusetts, super middleweight Mark “The Italian Bazooka” DeLuca (11-0) scored a technical knockout victory over Gundrick King (19-12) of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at 2:39 of the third round. DeLuca, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was a machine gunner in Afghanistan, had hammered King with a relentless body attack from the opening bell.
In amateur bouts, light flyweight Jen Amato of Keene, New Hampshire, won a three-round decision over Felecia O’Brien of Boston, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire, middleweight Ryan Clark won a three-round decision against Ricky Ford of Claremont, New Hampshire; and 92-pound Junior Olympian Angel Tricoch won a three-round decision over Wyatt Stearns of Monroe, Maine.
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate rose slightly in August, the first month-over-month rise in that rate since May 2012. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put the percentage of job seekers who can’t find work at 5.6 percent in August, up from 5.5 percent one month earlier and down … Read more →
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s unemployment rate rose slightly in August, the first month-over-month rise in that rate since May 2012.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put the percentage of job seekers who can’t find work at 5.6 percent in August, up from 5.5 percent one month earlier and down from 6.6 percent, or 7,400 people, one year ago.
The change comes as the national unemployment rate fell slightly from 6.2 percent in July to 6.1 percent in August.
The average unemployment rate for New England was 5.9 percent, with Vermont (4.1 percent) and New Hampshire (4.4 percent) at lower rates of unemployment than Maine. The jobless rate for Massachusetts was at 5.8 percent, Connecticut at 6.6 percent and Rhode Island at 7.7 percent in August.
Estimates of payroll jobs rose slightly to 611,300, continuing a long-term trend of growth, up 8,100 jobs from last year. That change reflects an estimated gain of 9,400 private sector jobs and 1,300 government jobs, according to the Maine Department of Labor’s Center for Workforce Information and Research. Government jobs make up their lowest share of the total job market in 30 years at 16.2 percent, according to CWRI.
Under blue skies, five U.S. combat veterans picked their way over the rough granite of Katahdin on Sept. 12, to complete their 2,185-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. As participants of the “Walk off the War” Warrior Hike program, these men chose to embark on the arduous wilderness journey as … Read more →
Under blue skies, five U.S. combat veterans picked their way over the rough granite of Katahdin on Sept. 12, to complete their 2,185-mile hike of the Appalachian Trail. As participants of the “Walk off the War” Warrior Hike program, these men chose to embark on the arduous wilderness journey as an alternative form of therapy, a way for them to come to terms with their wartime experiences.
“It gives your mind the time and space it needs to process all of it,” said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Sean Gobin, Warrior Hike founder. “It’s definitely a process, but at the end, you’re in a good space to start the next chapter of your life.”
In 2012, Gobin returned home after three combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He had long toyed with the idea of hiking the National Scenic Appalachian Trail, a footpath that spans from Georgia to Maine, so he decided to give it a try with fellow Marine Mark Silver.
“Initially, for me, it was just a physical challenge,” Gobin said. “It wasn’t until about two-thirds of the way up the trail that I realized what a profound impact the experience of hiking the trail actually was.”
Gobin certainly isn’t the first soldier to find solace in hiking the Appalachian Trail.
In 1948, Earl Shaffer told a friend he was going to “walk off the war” to reflect on his army experiences and mourn the loss of friends during World War II. Four months later, he became the first person to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail.
“My leaving the Marine Corps so abruptly and coming back from Afghanistan was a very jarring transition mentally to go from the battlefield to back at home,” said Gobin. “I really didn’t have the time and space to process and transition into civilian life.”
About 20 percent of Iraq veterans and 11 percent of Afghanistan veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a recent report from the Department of Veteran Affairs, which lists four symptoms: reliving the event in memory or nightmares, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, negative changes in beliefs and feelings, and feeling keyed up (jittery, always alert or on the lookout for danger).
A research team from Georgia Southern University is studying the therapeutic effects thru-hiking (hiking a long-distance trail from end to end) has on post-traumatic stress disorder. The team has released preliminary findings on how the long term wilderness experience combined with therapy can provide veterans the necessary time needed to recondition their behavioral and emotional responses.
Gobin believes three aspects of hiking the Appalachian Trail contributed to his healing process.
First, the act of hiking nonstop for days on end, without the distraction of media, forced him to process his experiences and come to terms with the past, he said.
Second, hiking with another veteran made it so he wasn’t going through the transition alone.
“And the third thing is the connections you make with people along the way, especially in trail towns,” Gobin said. “It helped you re-establish a basic faith in humanity that you may have lost on the battlefield.”
After completing the trail in 2012, Gobin founded Warrior Hike and the “Walk off the War” program so he could help other veterans experience their own healing thru-hikes.
In 2013, the organization sent its first group of 14 veterans to the Appalachian Trail, providing them with all their equipment and support along the way. The participants, which applied for the program online, came from all over the U.S. and had served in many branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy.
And this year, Gobin expanded the program to send veteran hikers to two additional trails: the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail and the 3,100-mile Continental Divide Trail, which both run across the western half of the U.S. from the border of Mexico to Canada.
“We’ve had so much support over the past two years and had a lot of people asking if we were going to send veterans on the other trails, so it just seemed like a natural progression,” Gobin said.
Supporting hikers on all three trails has been challenging, Gobin said, especially because the Pacific Crest Trail and Continental Divide Trail have a reputation for being more challenging and dangerous than the Appalachian Trail.
“On the [Appalachian Trail], everyone knows us now,” Gobin said.
On average, 20 percent of the people who start the Appalachian Trail thru-hike each year are successful in walking the entire trail, according to the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. The terrain is mountainous for its entire length, with an elevation gain and loss equivalent to hike Mount Everest from sea level and back 16 times.
Of the 14 veterans participating in the Warrior Hike Appalachian Trail expedition this year, just five completed the entire trail. The other participants left the trail early because of a variety of difficulties, physical and mental. But that doesn’t mean the hike wasn’t successful for them, Gobin said. While reaching the end is the obvious goal for any thru-hiker, a person doesn’t need to reach the end in order to have a healing, meaningful experience.
“It was very relaxing to get back to the basics, worrying about your basic needs like shelter, water and food, getting back to the simple life,” said Matthew Donnelly, one of the five Warrior Hikers to complete the Appalachian Trail hike this year.
Donnelly, originally from Shohola, Pennsylvania, served in the U.S. Navy and was deployed to the Persian Gulf off the coast of Iraq. His favorite part of the Appalachian Trail was the mountains of New Hampshire and Maine.
“Maine was great; we had a bunch of stops,” Gobin said. “Our big stops were Andover, Monson and Millinocket.”
After the Warrior Hike, veterans finished their climb of Katahdin on Sept. 12, and they led the march at the annual Trails End Festival in downtown Millinocket. They were treated to a barbecue dinner by Cooking with the Troops at the American Legion Post 80.
Next year, Gobin plans to expand the program further and organize a five-month paddling trip down the Mississippi River for veterans whose injuries don’t allow them to hike for hundreds of miles.
To learn about the “Walk off the War” program or donate to the cause, visit warriorhike.org.
We’ll leave it to a psychologist to determine what it means that the most frequently used word in ads for Eliot Cutler, independent candidate for governor, is “I,” while the campaign for Paul LePage refers to the Republican governor in the third person. The more interesting finding from a BDN … Read more →
We’ll leave it to a psychologist to determine what it means that the most frequently used word in ads for Eliot Cutler, independent candidate for governor, is “I,” while the campaign for Paul LePage refers to the Republican governor in the third person.
The more interesting finding from a BDN analysis of the most often used words in TV ads for the three candidates for governor is what they are not saying.
None of the three men in their ads is talking about growing population in a state that’s seeing anemic growth, preparing Maine’s students for tomorrow’s jobs and the attitude needed to make Maine attractive to the people we need to move here. These are some of the most important areas where Maine will need to focus in order to pull itself out of the economic doldrums it finds itself in well after most other states have pulled themselves out of the Great Recession.
“Jobs” is a frequently used word in the candidates’ advertising. But there’s no way Maine can expect substantially more jobs without significantly more people. But none of the three candidates has articulated a plan for drawing more people — who are preferably young and educated — to Maine. A Maine-themed race car and military-approved footwear made in Maine aren’t going to draw new residents in the numbers needed to make a meaningful difference.
With some spikes here and there, Maine’s population growth has been slowing for decades, and it’s now hitting milestones that are cause for grave concern. Maine now has more deaths than births. It has the oldest median age in the country at 43.5 years. It has a declining number of workers. And it lost population between 2012 and 2013, according to estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau at the end of December.
In a report released last fall, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Maine Development Foundation concluded that Maine can’t grow its economy without more growing its population. As an old state, Maine’s workforce is shrinking as workers reach retirement age and, without a growing population, they aren’t being replaced in the workforce. Maine will lost 20,000 workers by 2020, the report warns. To change course, the two groups recommend increasing workforce participation (by bringing more veterans, disabled adults, seniors and disengaged youth to the workforce) and attracting more workers from other states and countries to Maine.
This is the biggest crisis facing Maine — not a few people cheating welfare or undocumented workers coming to the state or whether there are more gubernatorial debates. Yet it’s not one that those who seek the state’s top leadership role are honestly talking about.
Also, conspicuously absent from the most-used words list is “education,” “schools” and “students.” Because of the population trends noted above, many towns are struggling to maintain schools that are educating a shrinking number of students. Between the 2006-07 and 2013-14 school years, Maine public school enrollment dropped by more than 15,000 students, a decline that would have been steeper without a nearly four-fold increase in the number of public pre-K programs across the state. At the same time, rural communities face a declining tax base to support their schools.
The declining numbers of high school students in Maine is also applying financial pressure on the state’s university and community college systems, yet none of the three candidates is talking about those trends.
A leader with the right attitude would acknowledge the state’s shortcomings and offer concrete plans for addressing them.
Sadly, from now until Nov. 4, we can instead expect to hear more about welfare, mills, taxes and illegal immigration.
KITTERY, Maine — A Rhode Island woman killed in an accident on the Maine Turnpike Thursday was headed to her summer camp in Rangeley, according to police. The victim has been identified as Christine Anderson, 59, of Smithfield, Rhode Island, according to Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland. Anderson and … Read more →
KITTERY, Maine — A Rhode Island woman killed in an accident on the Maine Turnpike Thursday was headed to her summer camp in Rangeley, according to police.
The victim has been identified as Christine Anderson, 59, of Smithfield, Rhode Island, according to Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland.
Anderson and her husband, James, own the Rangeley camp.
Anderson was heading north at mile marker 2 when she was struck head-on by a tractor-trailer driven by Daniel Dunlea, 58, of Londonderry, New Hampshire, McCausland said.
Anderson was killed instantly, the state police spokesman said.
Dunlea’s truck, which was hauling a load of paper products for Reas Trucking, crossed the median before striking Anderson’s SUV head-on. The accident remains under investigation.
Smile for the camera The media news surrounding the Ray Rice incident has yet to mention a side story that could be written. If I were a news reporter I’d title it “Smile, you are on camera.” The Sept. 11 front page story “Will recordings damage personal politics in Maine?” … Read more →
Smile for the camera
The media news surrounding the Ray Rice incident has yet to mention a side story that could be written. If I were a news reporter I’d title it “Smile, you are on camera.” The Sept. 11 front page story “Will recordings damage personal politics in Maine?” touched on it somewhat, as did the story about the sex offender snapping a photo of a young boy in a restroom.
As we go about our daily business, we should all be aware that the camera is rolling in one form or another. One estimate says that video cameras record the average person who is out and about at least 200 times a day. I think it’s more but you get the point
We hate it when the unblinking eye of the video camera catches us doing something we should not be doing, or saying something we wish we’d not said. On the flip side, we are grateful that a recording backs up our story that we were “right,” were not at fault or did nothing wrong.
Some will say it’s Big Brother watching. Maybe so, but sometimes it’s the person standing next to you or a passerby who happens to have a cell phone. Can it be abused? Absolutely! We need to be vigilant for that abuse. Personally, I think it encourages accountability and honesty, which seems to be in short supply today but that’s just my opinion. Now smile.
I am a grandmother with three beautiful grandchildren and several more foster grandchildren growing up in Maine. The most important campaign issue for me is climate change and how it will affect their future. There are dire consequences for our planet if we fail to act boldly and immediately to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and convert to clean energy. Yet our so-called “moderate” senator, Susan Collins, has demonstrated over and over again her disregard for our endangered earth.
Her stated position against a constitutional amendment that would overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, and her willingness to take campaign contributions from big money like the Koch brothers and oil companies, shows me that her loyalties are not with the people of Maine. I personally collected signatures at the last election on just such an amendment, and voters overwhelmingly supported the idea — Republicans, independents, and Democrats alike. The people of this country want to get big money out of politics.
We need to say goodbye to Collins. We need Shenna Bellows in the U.S. Senate. She will vote for my children and grandchildren’s future and for our planet earth.
Our U.S. military always prevents the “ultimate end,” whenever Satan pursues its evil trend.
But now the Golfer In Chief has no strategy in place. No plan to preserve the Christian race.
Instead, the news media reports a golfing ploy, while ISIS is beheading Americans.
Our country is being destroyed from within. President Obama’s telling all extremists “Come right on in, our borders are an open door, and prisons have inmates that teach hate.” Obama can’t see because he’s vacationing or asleep, with a cabinet of wolves guarding the sheep.
This Commander in Chief has no resolve, no strategy to fight, while ISIS is as evil as the 1940 Nazi’s Third Reich. Our present debt of $17 trillion puts our country in crisis. The USA has the most powerful military in the world. It’s past time we allowed the American Eagle to unfurl.
Rowland V. Gilbert Sr.
Cutler for Maine
I am writing in response to Sam Gath’s Sept. 10 letter “Job creation in China.” I found the piece to be uninformed and reminiscent of the Democratic playbook from the 2010 election. While I was living in China, I knew Eliot Cutler and his work focused on stimulating Chinese investment in the U.S. and in opening up new markets in China.
Since the election in 2010, the Chinese market for such products as Maine lobsters has grown four-fold. Rising household income, concerns over the environment and food safety have also led to an increase in the number of Chinese interested in U.S. schools and investment opportunities in the U.S.
At the same time, rising wages and changes in the exchange rates have many U.S. and Chinese companies looking at locating manufacturing back in the states.The question for Maine voters is who is going to work hardest/smartest to get these dollars?
Compared to our other New England neighbors, Maine has only succeeded in attracting a small fraction of what it could if the state put in place more effective measures to build brand in China and stimulate long term economic and cultural exchange programs.
Sen. Angus King is supporting Cutler because he believes, as I do, that he is the best candidate qualified for the job not only because he understands the challenges that Maine faces but because he has proposed concrete solutions, inclusive of plans to tap the immense opportunity that Maine has to grow the Chinese market.
The effort to challenge the Supreme Court decisions that brought an avalanche of secret money into our elections was defeated in the Senate last Thursday, and one of our senators, Susan Collins, was among the Republicans who prevented passage of this constitutional amendment proposal that all Democrats supported. (Never mind Collins’s empty gesture earlier in the week to bring the amendment proposal to the floor for debate.)
Voters who have participated in the movement to reverse the damage done to election campaigns by recent Supreme Court decisions should not despair. A constitutional amendment may not be possible, but it is possible to make good decisions about the people we elect to represent us on this issue in Washington and Augusta. It is necessary to read Sen. Angus King’s statement on “clean elections” and to let his ideas guide us in electing our senators and representatives on Nov. 4. It is important to remember that Collins earlier in her career supported clean elections. Now she is following a different kind of drummer, a different kind of Republican Party.
On Nov. 4, we can also come out strongly in support of our clean elections system in Maine by signing the “Initiative to Strengthen the Maine Clean Election Act.” Go to www.mainecleanelections.org for information and to volunteer.
ORONO, Maine — The Hull City Tigers are much better known in that northeast English city of 256,100 than the Hull Stingrays. The Tigers play in the prestigious Barclay’s Premier League, England’s top professional soccer league and one of the world’s best leagues. The Stingrays are a hockey team and … Read more →
ORONO, Maine — The Hull City Tigers are much better known in that northeast English city of 256,100 than the Hull Stingrays.
The Tigers play in the prestigious Barclay’s Premier League, England’s top professional soccer league and one of the world’s best leagues.
The Stingrays are a hockey team and play in the Elite Ice Hockey League that involves teams from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales as well as England.
Jack Musil’s father, Jan, used to take him to Stingrays games and that is where he fell in love with hockey.
“It was only 10 minutes away from my house. I couldn’t get enough of it,” said Musil, who is a freshman on the University of Maine’s hockey team and is the first Englishman to don the Black Bear colors.
Former Bear forward Colin Shields (2001-2004) was from Scotland.
The pro teams in Great Britain have junior systems affiliated with them so Musil grew up playing in the Hull program.
But when players reach the mid-teenage years, Musil said “there aren’t a lot of options.”
That led him to make the tough decision to leave home for a prep school in Cornwall, Ontario, the Ontario Hockey Academy.
“I had just turned 16. But, one day, I just decided ‘Yeah, I’m going to go for it and see where it takes me,” said the 21-year-old Musil.
He wound up captaining the team and eventually left to play junior hockey in Florida and then for the Waterville Valley, New Hampshire-based New England Wolves of the Eastern Hockey League where he led the team in virtually every offensive category a year ago with 47 goals, 54 assists, 101 points, 12 power-play goals and eight game-winners.
He admitted that moving to Canada from England was a challenge.
“It was a big change. It was a different culture. But once I got ahold of it, I loved it,” said Musil, who has continued to enjoy living in North America and is realizing a dream by attending Maine.
“I always wanted to get an education but I didn’t know where,” said Musil, a forward who played for the Great Britain Under-20 teams at the 2012 and 2013 World Junior Division 1A and 1B championships in Germany and Ukraine.
He has observed that the landscape and the weather in Maine is similar to England and he is looking forward to his first game in a Maine uniform.
“I’ve never played in front of such a big crowd and in such an atmosphere. It’s going to be an amazing experience,” said Musil.
When asked if he is homesick, Musil said, “To be honest, I’m so busy I haven’t had a chance to think about it.” He said his parents are hopefully coming to visit him in February.
Musil is one of eight freshmen on the Black Bear roster.
As in years past, the freshmen spent most of August in Orono taking online classes and getting familiar with the campus, the surroundings and each other while staying in a dormitory.
The only freshman who wasn’t in Orono was goalie Nik Nugnes and that was because he came to Maine last year and spent the second semester with the team.
Musil and the other freshmen said the month they spent together was valuable.
The worked out together voluntarily four days a week, went out to dinner and did things like play Xbox and Frisbee.
“The first couple of days were awkward because we didn’t know each other but we got so close, so fast. It’s going to help us this year,” said Romeo.
“We really bonded and became good friends,” said Hamilton.
Lacroix said they pushed each other during workouts and it has produced significant improvement in their conditioning.
He added that learning the campus and where their classes are enabled them to avoid the awkwardness of having to “carry a map” to find them once school began.
“Being here for four weeks was essential,” said Lacroix. “The weather was phenomenal and we took advantage of it. It was a good month.”
Maine head coach Red Gendron praised former coach Tim Whitehead for implementing the freshman orientation month.
“There’s no question that it helps. It gives the freshmen a comfort level. It can be stressful going around campus trying to find your classes and then having to come to practice,” he said.
AUGUSTA, Maine — A man and a woman were arrested Wednesday after a large quantity of drugs, including 13 grams of bath salts, were found during a search warrant at a River Street residence. The search was conducted at 4 p.m. and resulted in the arrests of Franklin Arbour Jr., … Read more →
AUGUSTA, Maine — A man and a woman were arrested Wednesday after a large quantity of drugs, including 13 grams of bath salts, were found during a search warrant at a River Street residence.
The search was conducted at 4 p.m. and resulted in the arrests of Franklin Arbour Jr., 38, and Angie Sousa, 32, both of Augusta, according to Deputy Police Chief Jared Mills.
In addition to the bath salts, police found 1,250 bags of heroin, 24 grams of cocaine and over 100 marijuana plants, Mills said.
The seized contraband is valued at over $30,000.
Arbour was charged with three counts of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs, two counts of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs, two counts of unlawful possession of schedule drugs and aggravated cultivation of marijuana, while Sousa is accused of two counts of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs, two counts of unlawful possession of scheduled drugs, and one count apiece of aggravated trafficking in scheduled drugs and aggravated cultivation of marijuana.
Both suspects are being held at the Kennebec County Jail. Arbour’s bail was set at $50,000 cash and Sousa’s $25,000 cash.
The first wave of moose hunters will head into the woods on Monday in what has become one of the state’s most popular hunts. In all, 1,050 permit holders — along with their designated “subpermittees,” or co-hunters — are permitted to hunt during the first six-day session of the season. … Read more →
The first wave of moose hunters will head into the woods on Monday in what has become one of the state’s most popular hunts.
In all, 1,050 permit holders — along with their designated “subpermittees,” or co-hunters — are permitted to hunt during the first six-day session of the season.
The state’s head moose biologist, Lee Kantar of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, said he expects hunters to enjoy their experiences. One key reason: The first week of the season regularly coincides with peak activity of “the rut,” or mating season.
Hunters who like to set up and call moose are apt to have their best success with that activity during the state’s first hunting session.
“September is clearly a world-class [moose-hunting] opportunity,” he said. “Next week is going to be unbelievable for calling, because it’s right in the rut … so next week you’ll be out there in northern Maine and have an opportunity to call in a big bull.”
The breakdown of this year’s hunting sessions, with Kantar’s synopsis on what sets that particular season apart, is as follows:
— Sept. 22-27: 1,050 bull permits in eight Wildlife Management Districts in northern and northeastern Maine.
Kantar’s take: “September is a world-class bull hunt. … We would like to open up additional management zones in September … [in order to] increase the opportunity for people to experience a September bull hunt in districts that didn’t have that before.”
— Oct. 13-18: 1,290 bull permits, 125 antlerless permits, in 19 Wildlife Management Districts covering the northern two-thirds of the state.
Kantar’s take: “A good portion of cows have been bred by that point, but there’s still some opportunity to do some calling and have some cows that are receptive as well. You may have a different advantage because all of the leaves are off the trees. And you get to bird hunt. It’s got pluses as well.”
— Nov. 3-8: 500 antlerless permits in five Wildlife Management Districts.
Kantar’s take: “November is really a cow hunt in limited areas. These are some areas where, based on our [management] goals and objectives, we can still harvest some level of cows.”
— Nov. 3-29, including Nov. 1 for Maine residents: 130 any-moose permits in six Wildlife Management Districts farther south than moose hunting normally takes place.
Kantar’s take: “There’s a very low density of moose [in these districts] and very challenging places to hunt. But there is a limited amount of any-moose permits for those areas.”
DIF&W biologists will continue their research into winter ticks and their role in moose mortality, and they will conduct sampling of moose during the October and November seasons to determine how many ticks are on each moose that biologists see at tagging stations. That research began in 2006; winter ticks are thought to compromise a moose’s ability to survive during harsh winters.
“We’ve always [studied the moose in] October because ultimately you want to do it as late in the fall as possible because that’s when those ticks are questing and looking for moose,” Kantar said.
At tagging stations across the northern tier of the state, crowds of people will show up on Monday — and throughout the week — to watch as moose are tagged and weighed.
Kantar took part in a limited “controlled hunt” last week, during which 25 disabled veterans tried to fill their tags.
Those moose proved popular, even though they arrived at tagging stations a week earlier than many people anticipated.
“We brought some moose into Ben’s Trading Post [in Presque Isle], and just one moose coming in starts to draw a crowd pretty quickly,” Kantar said. “There’s something awesome about moose when they come in [to tagging stations]. It’s a sight to see.”
Kantar said he feels that same sense of awe when he sees a moose out in the woods, on the hoof.
“We’re lucky to live in a state that’s got so many moose,” he said.
Kantar emphasized that the DIF&W has again included information on its web page about field-dressing and quartering moose in the field.
Many hunters like to bring the entire field-dressed moose to the tagging station, but Kantar said quartering the animals in the field is often the best option.
“It would be nice to see people work on quartering moose, especially on those hot days, and doing everything they possibly can to get that moose cooled down and salvage all that meat,” Kantar said. “The onus is on the hunter.”
Moose meat can start to spoil rapidly, he said, and choosing to quarter the moose can make an enormous difference.
“It’s critical,” he said. “We’re talking about temperatures above 50 degrees [being too warm to expect meat not to spoil]. I’d be very cautious of temperatures between 40 and 50. You’ve got an animal that, inside, is 101 degrees. … It’s got to be opened up, and that hide’s got to come off, and that animal and that meat’s got to be cooled down.”
CUMBERLAND, Maine — Don Richards would rather not talk about the accident that nearly killed him. “I don’t feel any pain, so I don’t want people feeling sorry for me,” he said. Less than a year ago, the 81-year-old Richards was lying on a barn floor in a pool of … Read more →
CUMBERLAND, Maine — Don Richards would rather not talk about the accident that nearly killed him.
“I don’t feel any pain, so I don’t want people feeling sorry for me,” he said.
Less than a year ago, the 81-year-old Richards was lying on a barn floor in a pool of his own blood. He was surrounded by three longtime coworkers and friends who were certain Richards would die right there before their eyes.
But, to the surprise of everyone – friends, family, paramedics and doctors – Richards pulled through. And, just a few months after the accident, Richards returned to work at Don Richards Stables, a 50-year institution at the Cumberland Fairgrounds.
On Sunday, Sept. 21, Richards will be honored during the opening day of the annual Cumberland County Fair. Throughout the day, a series of fundraisers will benefit the Cumberland Fire Department, whose paramedics rushed Richards to the hospital, plus two other charities on Richards’ behalf.
The day will also feature the first-ever Don Richards Invitational Pace Race: a harness race with a purse of $15,000, which is the highest in the fair’s 143-year history, according to fair President Mike Timmons. Races begin at 1:30 p.m. The invitational will be the ninth race in a 10-race card.
Between each race, friends and relatives will step up to a microphone to offer their thoughts and anecdotes about Richards.
Timmons, who has known Richards for 50 years, said his friend is reluctant to be the center of attention for a day. Nonetheless, the fair is forging ahead with the plan.
“He’s alive,” Timmons said. “I have memorial services for people all the time that are dead. He’s lucky to be alive and I’d much rather have a full-day program to honor him while he’s alive.”
Richards might be uncomfortable with the attention he’ll receive Sunday, but he’s no stranger to the spotlight.
He is one of Maine’s winningest harness drivers: In a racing career that spans 65 years, the Yarmouth resident has won about 4,500 races, including his final race before retiring last year.
According to fellow harness driver Wallace Watson, Richards is a “living legend.”
“He’s one of the best guys who ever drove a horse in the state of Maine,” Watson said.
Richards began his stable services at the fairgrounds in 1963. He’s been working in the same barn since 1968.
But on Jan. 8, Richards nearly died in that barn, when he and three others were trying to break an energetic colt named Tommy Bar.
Richards was holding Tommy Bar’s lead rope when the horse suddenly reared up and kicked him in the face with a front hoof.
The injuries were profound, according to Donna Fenderson, Richards’ assistant of 40 years.
“The whole side of his face was off and against his neck,” she recalled. “You just can’t describe it. It was just – horrific. There was nothing there.”
The hoof had cleaved the left side of Richards’ face, including his nose, jaw and part of his left eye, which he eventually lost altogether.
Fenderson’s husband, John Fenderson, was there, too.
“Truthfully, I thought he was going to die right in my arms. There was so much blood,” he said. “Almost nobody else would have survived that.”
Cumberland EMTs stemmed the bleeding and rushed Richards to Maine Medical Center in Portland, where he spent the next three months, Donna Fenderson said. For more than a month, Richards was in an induced coma while surgeons reattached his nose and face, reconstructed his jaw and attempted to save his left eye.
“I lost my eye,” Richards said this week, “but I see good out of the other one.”
After the coma, Richards had to relearn how to walk, talk and swallow, and is still undergoing rehabilitation. Nonetheless, he returned to work at his stables three months earlier than anyone expected.
Despite the ordeal, Richards said he had no reservations about working with horses again and harbors no ill feelings toward the colt that injured him.
“It wasn’t the horse’s fault,” he said. “He got scared and he struck me.”
Donna Fenderson recalled a brief interaction between Richards and the colt shortly after Richards returned.
“When he came back,” she said, “he told (Tommy Bar) ‘You might have got the battle, but I won the war.’”
One of my favorite activities as a bird columnist is stirring up trouble. Today, I plan to tackle a subject that I have long avoided. However, I’ve just completed another long summer of leading walks and tours, and this subject is fresh in my mind. Using audio devices to attract … Read more →
One of my favorite activities as a bird columnist is stirring up trouble. Today, I plan to tackle a subject that I have long avoided. However, I’ve just completed another long summer of leading walks and tours, and this subject is fresh in my mind.
Using audio devices to attract birds into view is a good thing to do. It’s also a terrible thing to do. There is now such a proliferation of devices and smartphone apps that the birding world needs to have a wider discussion about appropriate use.
For the uninitiated, most birds are highly territorial in breeding season. When they hear another bird singing inside their perceived territories, they are likely to seek out and confront the intruder. A device playing their songs will bring them out to investigate. Some birds also react to the scolding calls of other birds, and this can work well in nonbreeding season. The problem is that disturbances of this kind can lure birds into real trouble, especially if it draws them off nests or away from fledglings.
On the other hand, the Maine woods are full of ground nesters, such as hermit thrushes, dark-eyed juncos, Nashville warblers, ovenbirds and white-throated sparrows. The possibility of stepping on a nest grows exponentially when a dozen people step off the trail in an attempt to sight a concealed bird. Better to bring one bird into view through trickery then to send 12 pairs of feet in after it.
In a perfect world, humans would avoid any action that disturbs wildlife. But in many cases, wildlife depends on our enthusiasm to ensure its continued existence. The increased popularity of birding has bolstered the general public’s desire to protect birds and support conservation. Visible birds generate more enthusiasm than invisible ones.
The American Birding Association recognizes this dilemma in its official Code of Birding Ethics. The code does not denounce the use of sound recordings, but it does advise good conduct. Among its caveats, it admonishes birders: “To avoid stressing birds or exposing them to danger, exercise restraint and caution during observation, photography, sound recording or filming.” Furthermore, it advises birders to: “Limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area.”
I seldom use audio when I am by myself. But when leading inexperienced birders, I will purse my lips and make ridiculous squeaking noises to get a bird’s attention, and I will make judicious use of audio when I judge that there is a danger to nesters. When doing so, I pay very close attention to bird behavior to determine if I am causing undue stress. From this, I have developed my own personal code of conduct, some of which is obvious, some not.
Don’t use audio where prohibited. This includes national parks and Baxter State Park. Don’t use audio in popular places, especially if there is a danger that other people are also doing the same thing, creating a cumulative impact on individual birds. Don’t keep returning to the same birds.
Let the bird win. Stop long before the bird becomes intimidated or frustrated. Watch behavior. If birds are being drawn into conflict with each other, stop. If females are coming off nests in breeding season, stop. Understand the differences in species. Scolding is such a common occurrence among chickadees and nuthatches that a little bit of audio is unlikely to cause much stress. Rails squabble among themselves routinely, and one more squabble matters little. But other species are much more reluctant to engage, and the persistent use of audio can be truly disruptive. I watch to see if birds continue feeding while sidling over to investigate me. If so, they’re probably not too troubled. But if they come in all ruffled and wiping their bills, stop.
I don’t use owl calls to incite mobbing behavior, though I know that many professional guides do. I don’t condemn such use. It’s just a matter of my own personal code. I want to make the birds curious, not fearful.
So, here’s where the fun begins. I invite readers to jump on the BDN website and scold me for using audio, or to post their own personal codes and observations. As I said, the birding world needs a wider discussion. Let it begin here.
Bob Duchesne serves as a Maine Audubon trustee and vice president of its Penobscot Valley Chapter. Bob developed the Maine Birding Trail, with information at mainebirdingtrail.com. Bob can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
True defining moments are rare in any movement, cause or social issue. Sure, there are events and circumstances that serve to immortalize the theme one is promoting, but to call something a defining moment, it has to have a significant impact across the spectrum of interest and not just within … Read more →
True defining moments are rare in any movement, cause or social issue. Sure, there are events and circumstances that serve to immortalize the theme one is promoting, but to call something a defining moment, it has to have a significant impact across the spectrum of interest and not just within the community devoted to that cause.
Civil rights, gay rights and women’s rights each have had their defining moments that can be articulated among not only those who are impacted by the movement but others outside that given community. I hope I am not premature, but I am feeling strongly that the movement against domestic violence might have had its defining moment on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014.
One way you can identify a true defining moment is when you can recite the date that something so radical occurred that the entire nation took notice. Each of the aforementioned movements can probably identify and recite the event that was so important it changed the course of history. For civil rights and LGBT rights, Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her bus seat in 1955 and the Stonewall Riots in New York City in 1969 are such dates that are oft cited as defining moments.
What happened earlier this month on Sept. 8 that is so pivotal, you may ask?
You probably won’t remember the date in the future, but on that day, the entire nation took notice of the problem of domestic violence in our country. On Sept. 8, the most powerful and most popular professional sport stood tall, recognized the problem of domestic violence and took drastic action to deal with it.
Why is this so defining? For far too long, professional athletes as well as some college athletes, seemed invulnerable to the societal issues we all face. This is not to say they were immune — as many cases have shown they are no different from any of us when it comes to taking part or being caught up in such actions. It is just uncanny how athletes seem to lack accountability and avoid the usual punishments and sanctions most others suffer for the same conduct.
Some are saying the NFL was pressured and backed into a corner to take the action it did. Regardless of its motivation, the league’s actions shook the sports world like a tsunami with the attention of domestic violence going mainstream.
Many have said a subculture that exists in sports that places athletes beyond the reach of civilian authorities. There is no question certain sports teams have circled the wagons when one of their own has crossed the line or been accused of committing a crime. So, for the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL to take the action they did on Sept. 8 — respectively, cutting running back Ray Rice and indefinitely suspending him from play — was a defining moment. No longer will domestic violence be tolerated by this multibillion dollar organization. No longer will the actions of an abuser be covered and protected. No longer will high-profile athletes be held to a different standard.
This is a rare case in which a professional sport has helped to raise the profile of a social issue such as domestic violence to this level in the public arena. Even the former New England Patriot sitting in jail for murder, Aaron Hernandez, was just a blip to the nonsports citizen. The Rice episode, however, has drawn attention from all corners of society.
Domestic violence is everywhere, and maybe it took the firing of a professional football player to get the attention of those who normally don’t know or don’t care about such things. Now, at least, public attention is focused on domestic violence — largely thanks to the defining moment on Sept. 8.
I have long held that in my capacity as a domestic violence investigator, public attention and awareness about the cause are just as important as interviewing defendants and victims. For once, a high-profile case is doing part of the job for me.
I hope I am not being overly optimistic.
We have had some false starts in the past with significant events that have garnered considerable attention only to lose their momentum. I have stated in past interviews and OpEds that we are an event-driven society. Our attention is focused on the newspaper headlines of the day and the lead story on the evening news.
Domestic violence has held that crown in the past — unfortunately only after the latest gruesome homicide or the arrest of a pseudo-celebrity. As in most cases, domestic violence no longer held the spotlight after a few days, and it was replaced by war, disease or the economy. Until the next gruesome event, the cause is typically forgotten by the masses. The unaffected move on as if nothing happened.
Maybe we have crossed over that line this time. Maybe domestic violence will remain relevant, and it will no longer be regarded as that problem that only affects other people. Only time will tell.
Regardless, Sept. 8, 2014, was a pretty significant date for domestic violence. Yes, this incident will eventually be bumped from the headlines. If it is that defining moment for domestic violence, though, it won’t be bumped from your consciousness.
Steven Edmondson is the domestic violence investigator for the Sagadahoc County district attorney’s office in Bath.
LIMESTONE, Maine — On an old concrete parking lot next to a deserted building on the former Loring Air Force Base, there is something very exciting and environmentally friendly going on. Every day, from sunrise to sundown, 720 state-of-the art solar panels mounted on 30 dual-axis tracking devices produce up … Read more →
LIMESTONE, Maine — On an old concrete parking lot next to a deserted building on the former Loring Air Force Base, there is something very exciting and environmentally friendly going on.
Combined with another 216 fixed-mount panels that went on line in the fall of 2012, the arrays generate enough electricity to power 55 Maine homes and offset 250 tons of carbon annually.
“We have all the ingredients we needed for a successful large-scale solar project,” LDA President Carl Flora said. “We have a well-developed power infrastructure in place and a lot of wide open spaces. Loring is a big place and is an excellent site for this.”
The power generated by the panels is purchased by Emera Maine through the existing power grid in a process known as “net metering,” which helps offset LDA’s overall energy bill.
The fixed-mount panels, known as Loring Solar I, are arranged in two rows on a lawn near LDA’s office building.
Loring Solar II, the tracking panels, were placed on a parking lot not far from the LDA building and went on line this past summer, according to Flora.
The newest dual-axel panels seem to operate with a mind of their own — they move in accordance with the seasons, daylight and even weather conditions.
“Each unit has GPS tracking installed on it,” Rich Simon, president of The Power Company, said. “When you install them, you get full-time feedback through the Internet on where they are on the planet and their relation to the track and arc of the sun.”
Once that information is programmed, the panels then follow the sun and position themselves to best capture its rays.
On days with strong winds, the panels will position themselves to be parallel to the ground to prevent any wind damage. They also can sense whether snow has piled up on their surface.
“If they get covered with snow, they will tilt until the snow slides off,” Flora said.
At night, they will lie flat, ready to “wake up” the next morning to track the sun as soon as it appears above the horizon, Simon said.
“I would love to place one of those in a field of sunflowers,” he said. “It would be so great to watch them move together.”
Sunflowers naturally follow the direction of the sun as it moves across the sky.
By following the movement of the sun, according to Simon, the efficiency of the panels is increased by 40 percent over fixed-mount arrays.
The panels are tied directly to the existing power grid, and Emera Maine purchases the solar-generated electricity, which offsets LDA’s power costs.
“The power goes directly into the grid,” Flora said. “Then it is netted against our use.”
LDA leases the panels from The Power Company, which is based in Washington, Maine, and installs solar arrays for third-party use.
In other words, Flora said, The Power Company paid for the $1.2 million project, owns the panels and benefits from any and all state or federal alternative energy tax credits or incentives.
At the end of six years — when those credits and incentives dry up — the LDA will have the option to purchase the panels or continue the lease agreement.
In the meantime, the LDA is making an annual lease payment of $54,689, or 95 percent of the panel’s electrical output.
So far, Flora said, the deal has resulted in only minor savings — about $3,000 a year — in LDA’s overall power bill. In fiscal year 2014, according to Donna Sturzl, LDA director of finance and accounting, the power bill totaled $125,700.
“It might not seem like a lot,” Flora said, referring to the savings generated by the solar project. “But it is a savings to us and does not cost us anything.”
Flora added that the solar power project comes down to more than dollars and cents.
“Why not do it?” he said. “It’s just kind of a neat project and it’s a great conversation starter that generates positive attention, and that’s important in attracting the kinds of businesses we want to draw here.”
Flora also spoke of possible educational opportunities.
“There also are a lot of intangible values here,” he said. “Job Corps is right nearby, and some of the students could learn to work on solar arrays. We would be happy to see local schools come for show-and-tell sessions.”
Should LDA decide to purchase the panels in six years, Flora said, preliminary estimates show the authority could see energy savings in the “tens of thousands of dollars” over the 20- to 25-year lifespan of the panels.
Loring Solar I and II combined is the largest solar project of its kind in the state, but Simon said a larger project — a 4,500-panel array being installed at Bowdoin College by the company Solar City — is expected to go on line later this year.
Simon started The Power Company in 2010 as an energy consultant and development company specializing in solar photovoltaic systems for commercial and industrial properties.
In addition to the lease payments, the company’s return on investments comes from federal tax incentives tied to alternative power installation.
In addition to the Loring projects, Simon is working with the Deer Ridge Farm apartments in Wiscasset, where six solar arrays are supplying 30 percent of the low-income units’ electricity needs.
“We are working toward having them at ‘net zero,’” Simons said. “At that point they will have enough panels to produce the amount of energy to equal what they would take from the grid.”
Simon plans on installing two additional arrays to get Deer Ridge Farm to that point.
He also is working with Matinicus Island officials on a grant application for a solar array to provide long-term, sustainable power to island residents who pay five times the energy rates as people on the mainland.
“We have designed a system for them that has solar energy production capabilities plus battery storage for that power,” Simon said. “This is the kind of project that fits our mission really well.”
Simon said his company does have plans for other projects in Maine but declined to discuss them yet.
He did say, however, he is pleased with how things are going at Loring.
“I enjoyed working up there,” Simon said. “The people have a real ‘let’s get it done’ attitude, and Carl [Flora] is a smart and receptive man who is trying to do more with energy development.”
To date Simon’s company has invested around $1.4 million in solar projects in Maine and he admits, in the big scheme of things, it is not a huge amount of money, but he is optimistic his company will continue to grow with the state’s energy needs.
“We are looking at the best path for solar development working with communities and nonprofits,” he said. “We are not a big company, but we are moving through what are kind of uncharted waters and we are proving it is doable: That is how business grows.”
EDINBURGH — Scotland spurned independence in a historic referendum that threatened to rip the United Kingdom apart, sow financial turmoil and diminish Britain’s remaining global clout. A vote for the 307-year union is a relief for millions of Britons including Prime Minister David Cameron, whose job was on the line, … Read more →
EDINBURGH — Scotland spurned independence in a historic referendum that threatened to rip the United Kingdom apart, sow financial turmoil and diminish Britain’s remaining global clout.
A vote for the 307-year union is a relief for millions of Britons including Prime Minister David Cameron, whose job was on the line, as well as allies across the world who were horrified at the prospect of the United Kingdom’s separation.
Unionists won 55 percent of the vote while separatists won 45 percent with 31 of 32 constituencies declared.
Political leaders of all hues agreed that Britain would be changed for good nonetheless.
Unionists cheered, kissed and drank wine and beer in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city where secessionists won, while nationalist leader Alex Salmond conceded defeat in Edinburgh, which supported the United Kingdom.
“Scotland has by a majority decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country. I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland,” Salmond said.
Cameron, speaking outside his official London residence in Downing Street, said the question of Scottish independence had been settled for a generation.
“There can be no disputes, no re-runs, we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people,” said Cameron. Queen Elizabeth II, who is at her Scottish castle in Balmoral, is expected to make a rare comment on Friday.
The campaign for independence had electrified this country of 5.3 million but also divided the passions of friends and families from the remote Scottish islands of the Atlantic to the tough city estates of Glasgow.
Sterling strengthened sharply against the dollar and the euro while British share prices rose. Royal Bank of Scotland said it had scrapped plans to move its registered office to England.
Though the break up the United Kingdom, the world’s sixth largest economy and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has been avoided, Britain’s rulers admit the Scottish vote will lead to a reshaped the union.
Speaking in front of an image of a giant white on blue Scottish flag, Salmond laced his defeat with a warning to British politicians in London that they must respect their last minute promise of more powers for Scotland.
“Scotland will expect these to be honored in rapid course,” he said before walking off the stage, his head bowed.
Opinion polls showing a surge in Scottish separatist support in the two weeks leading up to the Sept. 18 vote prompted a rushed British pledge to grant more powers to Scotland, a step that has angered some English lawmakers in Westminster.
In an effort to deflate that anger, Cameron vowed to forge a new constitutional settlement that would grant Scotland the promised powers but also give powers to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“Just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare, so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland should be able to vote on these issues,” Cameron said.
“All this must take place, in tandem with and at the same pace as the settlement for Scotland.”
Cast as a constitutional revolution, commentators said Cameron’s pledge of more powers to the constituent parts of the United Kingdom was aimed at sedating ‘the slumbering beast of English nationalism’.
Cameron’s Conservatives have seen members seep towards the United Kingdom Independence Party, an anti-European Union party, ahead of a referendum on EU membership that Cameron has promised by the end of 2017 if he wins the 2015 election.
“I’m not convinced by what I’ve heard this morning from Mr Cameron this morning that he seriously wants to address that,” UKIP leader Nigel Farage said.
Seeking to tap into a cocktail of historical rivalry, opposing political tastes and a perception that London has mismanaged Scotland, nationalists said Scots, not London, should rule Scotland to build a wealthier and fairer country.
Though the nationalists won Glasgow, they failed to live up to opinion polls before the vote which forecast that the United Kingdom’s fate was balanced on a knife edge.
“We have chosen unity over division, and positive change rather than needless separation,” Alistair Darling, head of the “Better Together” campaign and a former British finance minister.
The vote prevents 59-year-old Salmond from winning his dream of an independent Scotland, a goal for which he has worked with a mix of shrewd calculation and nationalist passion for his entire adult life.
Unionists had warned independence would usher in financial, economic and political uncertainty and diminish the UK’s standing in the world. They have said that Scotland would not keep the pound as part of a formal currency union.
U.S. President Barack Obama and European Union leaders had made clear they wanted the United Kingdom to stay together.
Marin Schulz, the center-left speaker of the European Parliament, told German radio that while the referendum had been an internal matter for Britain: “I admit I am relieved by the result.”
While Scottish leaders promised to work together, Scots remained divided in joy and disappointment over the fate of their country.
“I’m delighted. It’s overwhelming as well. The people listened, they thought about it, and now they have spoken,” said Sheila Gilmore, a Scottish-born Labor lawmaker who welcomed the preservation of the union.
But Calum Martin, a 21 year-old history student at Edinburgh University who voted for independence said the question of secession would return.
“It’s a disappointing result but it sets the stage for going forward,” Martin said. “As long as there are flaws, there will be calls for independence. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle once it’s out.”