Monthly Archives: January 2018

Kennebec River water levels could stay high into next week | Bangor Daily News

The blockage of ice in Farmingdale that has caused unusually high water levels in the Kennebec River could last for days, officials said.

On Thursday, the National Weather Service again reissued a flood warning for the river in the Augusta area, saying that the Kennebec “will remain near flood stage for the next couple of days.” The water height by Calumet Bridge in Augusta had receded back below the official flood cutoff point of 12 feet on Friday, but around 5 p.m. it remained near flood level at 11.4 feet, which still is considered high.

Officials said warm daytime temperatures expected for Saturday likely won’t be enough to dislodge the ice jam, which formed at a narrow part of the river, causing water to flood over the banks in Hallowell and Augusta last weekend.

Mixed wintry precipitation expected on Tuesday could free up the jam, but it could just prevent runoff from flowing downstream, causing water levels to rise again.

“It’s still a waiting game,” said Tom Hawley, a forecaster in the NWS office in Gray. “How much flooding will occur before that jam moves is the problem.”

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Acadia National Park logged record 3.5 million visitors in 2017 | Bangor Daily News

Acadia National Park had a record-setting 3,509,271 visitors in 2017, a 6.2 percent increase over the all-time high set the year before.

The latest record-setting number isn’t much of a surprise, as on Jan. 9, park officials announced an estimated 3,497,187 visitors had visited Acadia as of the end of November. That’s 560,601 more than came into Acadia for 11 months of 2016 and broke the park’s record 3.3 million visitations that year.

An estimated 12,684 people visited Acadia in December, about 14.4 percent less than came to the park in December 2016, when 14,611 visited, according to statistics provided by park spokesman John Kelly.

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Federal appeals court agrees to hear Eves’ appeal of lawsuit over LePage’s action | Portland Press Herald

In a highly unusual move, the full 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to rehear an appeal of a federal court ruling dismissing former Maine House Speaker Mark Eves’ lawsuit against Gov. Paul LePage.

The court said Friday that a majority of the judges voted to hear the appeal of the case’s dismissal, which had previously been upheld by a panel of three of the circuit court’s judges.

“We’re one step closer to holding the governor accountable for an egregious abuse of power,” said Eves, who is now running for governor. “I’m not going to give up.”

Eves, who was finishing up his term in the State House at the time, was hired in 2015 to be president of Good Will-Hinckley School, which also operates the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences charter school in Hinckley. The school’s board rescinded the offer, saying it wanted to “avoid political controversy” after LePage threatened to block state funding for the school if it went ahead with the job offer to Eves, a Democrat and frequent political opponent of the governor.

LePage argued that Eves had opposed charter schools as House speaker and therefore shouldn’t be hired to run an organization that also operated a charter school.

Eves then filed a federal lawsuit against LePage, accusing the Republican governor of “blackmailing” the school for at-risk students and asserting that LePage was violating Eves’ rights to free speech, political affiliation and due process by saying funding would be blocked if the job offer wasn’t withdrawn.

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Maine town manager under fire for promoting white separatism | Portland Press Herald

[Note: What a backward, twisted little man this guy is. This country is built on immigration and diversity. This guy is a moron, but worse, he is a racist, bigot and misogynists.]

The town manager of Jackman is coming under fire for promoting white separatist views and making comments critical of Islam.

Thomas Kawczynski describes himself as a “steward” for New Albion, espousing ideas based on the races being “voluntarily separate.” The New Albion website says it is “defending the people and culture of New England.”

Kawczynski, in a phone interview with the Press Herald on Friday night, said New Albion is not a racist movement, but one that promotes “monoculture.”

“I am not a white supremacist. I am not a racist,” Kawczynski said. “What gets me in trouble sometimes is I am a white person who is not ashamed to be white.”

Kawczynski, 37, said that living in northern Maine, where most of the people are white, allows him to “experience the joys of living in a monoculture.” He said he opposes Islam because it’s “not compatible with Western culture.”

Jackman is in Somerset County on the Canadian border. The town had a population of 862 people in the 2010 census.

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Maine officials blast Trump plan to open coastal waters to oil drilling | Bangor Daily News

On Thursday, President Donald Trump administration announced a draft proposal that would open large swaths of federal waters to potential oil and gas drilling, including the coast of Maine.

The proposal would open most of the outer continental shelf to oil and gas drilling for a five-year lease period to start in 2019. The prospect of rigs churning up the seabed in the Gulf of Maine, alongside struggling shrimp stocks, valuable scallops and the state’s iconic lobster has environmental advocates furious.

“This is just a slap in the face, frankly, to anybody who wants to protect their economy on the coast,” Natural Resources Council of Maine executive director Lisa Pohlmann said.

Pohlmann said aquaculture, seafood harvesting and tourism would be under threat from such a plan because, as she puts it, “where there is drilling there is spilling.”

Read the rest of the story in the Bangor Daily News.

Frozen in time: Memories of the Ice Storm of ’98 | Bangor Daily News

Twenty years ago, a massive winter storm system tormented Maine for days, turning much of the state into a thick, gigantic icicle. As power lines snapped under the weight of the ice, a half million Mainers were plunged into darkness. Many found themselves without light and heat for as long as three weeks. The entire state was a disaster area. And President Bill Clinton eventually declared it one.

Freezing rain began on Jan. 5, a Monday, and continued for three days. By Jan. 6, the icing was already severe.

If you were in Maine for the Ice Storm of ‘98, you remember.

Kids were out of school for two weeks after their Christmas break was supposed to have ended. Thousands of people were forced to take refuge in emergency shelters. Hospitals were crowded with people needing treatment for hypothermia, falls and carbon monoxide poisoning.

At least five Mainers died because of the storm, including two men who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning, one who was struck in the head by a falling tree, one who died of hypothermia after falling down the stairs of his dark, cold house and one who was killed when the roof of a gas station island collapsed under the weight of ice. The Maine Emergency Management Agency indicates that six people were killed in Maine because of the storm, but did not specify how the sixth person died.

Read the rest of this story in the Bangor Daily News and view a video on the ’98 storm.

Snow piles up and coastal towns get flooded as blizzard blasts Maine | Portland Press Herald

Portland Press Herald

A powerful nor’easter roared into Maine on Thursday, turning into a blizzard packing heavy, drifting snow and gusting winds that created whiteout conditions and caused traffic accidents, power outages and flooding along the coast.

Eric Sinsabaugh, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray, said the area over southern and coastal Maine was officially in a blizzard by late Thursday afternoon, after seeing three consecutive hours of sustained wind gusts of at least 35 mph and visibility that was restricted to a quarter mile or less.

Snow fell at a rate of between 1 and 2 inches per hour Thursday afternoon, and was expected to accumulate to a foot or more in Portland.

Final snow totals probably won’t be available until Friday, Sinsabaugh said, but as of Thursday night there were accumulations of 11 inches in Gray, 11.9 inches in Yarmouth, 11 inches in Freeport, 7 inches in Brunswick and 12 inches in Portland.

Portland and coastal areas were expected to see a total accumulation of 12 to 13 inches, and inland areas between 7 and 13 inches. Down East will see the highest accumulations, with up to 16 inches expected along the coast.

Mal Walker, a meteorologist with the weather service office in Caribou, said Thursday’s storm was one of the most powerful to hit the East Coast in recent memory.

Read the rest of this story in the Portland Press Herald.