Category Archives: Law and Order

Trump travel ban expected to start tonight, will ‘hurt innocent people,’ Maine Arab leader says | Bangor Daily News

[Note: We are a nation of immigrants, so this ban is un-American. It will hurt the wrong people and there is absolutely no guarantee it will reduce the threat of terrorism. It will only cause more global mistrust of the United States.]

President Donald Trump’s travel ban from six mostly Muslim countries, after clearing a key hurdle in the U.S. Supreme Court, could take effect Thursday night, according to multiple reports.

An Arab community leader in Maine decried the president’s travel ban as a punishment for people who have done nothing wrong, and said the move disrespects America’s history as a nation built by immigrants and refugees.

Zoe Sahloul was born in Lebanon and came to Maine nearly two decades ago. She now serves as the executive director of the New England Arab American Organization, with offices in Westbrook and Portland.

“I believe in the goodness of people,” she said. “Unfortunately with these regulations, a lot of people are being hurt, a lot of people who are innocent and who have had nothing to do with terrorists. People are desperate to leave [war-torn countries], and they’re desperate to have any help they can get to save their kids and save their families.

“I’ve been in Maine for 20 years, and even with that, I’ve been so stressed out and so afraid,” Sahloul continued. “When we talk about immigrants, who is not a product of immigrants in the United States, whether you’re third or fourth generation?”

Trump’s travel ban will block travel to the U.S. from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — four of which are Arab nations, and all of which are predominantly Muslim — for at least 90 days. The president’s measure will also prevent refugees from any country from entering the U.S. for at least 120 days.

Read the rest of the story by Seth Koenig in the Bangor Daily News.

Airman comes home from tour of duty to new Bangor home | Bangor Daily News

BANGOR, Maine — “Welcome home” took on a double meaning Friday for an Air Force command post controller assigned to the Maine Air National Guard Base in Bangor.

Not only did Kyle Eaton finally touch down at Bangor International Airport after his first overseas deployment, he also got his first look at the house he bought — sight unseen — during a six-month stint in an undisclosed location in Southeast Asia.

Eaton, a 2007 Hermon High School graduate who turned 22 last month, bought the tidy white house at 65 Parker St. through the city of Bangor’s recently established Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

Though the program, which was funded through a $1,084,873 grant from the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, the city is able to buy foreclosed or vacant homes which it rehabilitates and sells to income-eligible first-time home buyers, according to Rosie Bradley, assistant director of community development for the city of Bangor.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, a new program of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, requires that participants incorporate green energy standards to make the homes more efficient and therefore affordable, Bradley noted.

The city so far has resold four homes, has another on the market and is overhauling a sixth, she said.

Though he was on the other side of the world, Eaton was able to surmount the hurdles to homeownership with the help of his father, to whom he granted power of attorney so that the real estate closing could take place.

Click to read more of this story by Dawn Gagnon in the Bangor Daily News and to see photos and video.

Occupy Maine gets support from unions as demonstration nears one-week mark | Bangor Daily News

PORTLAND, Maine — Members of a group angry about corporate influence on government has found support from southern Maine labor unions as they close in on a week of camping out in downtown Portland.

The Occupy Maine settlement, a local offshoot of a nationwide network of demonstrations that began in mid-September with Occupy Wall Street, reaches its seventh day Friday, and members say their group is still growing. This weekend, Occupy Maine will celebrate what it’s calling Free Speech Weekend with music, yoga and art making.

Members of the Occupy movement have been calling themselves “the 99 percent,” referring to all those who are not among the 1 percent of the American population who control nearly half of wealth in the country. That 1 percent, occupiers argue, have an unfair amount of influence on federal governance.

“We’re getting bigger and bigger,” said Demi Colby, 23, of Gardiner, who took part in Occupy Wall Street and returned to her home state to help launch Occupy Maine on Saturday, Oct. 1.

Click to read the rest of Seth Koenig’s story in the Bangor Daily News.

Black bear killed in Portland | Portland Press Herald

Black bear killed in Portland | Portland Press Herald

Drug- and alcohol-related crimes dominate Aroostook County indictments | Bangor Daily News

Drug- and alcohol-related crimes dominate Aroostook County indictments | Bangor Daily News

 

Ashland police chief, second victim in moose accident remain hospitalized | Bangor Daily News

EAGLE LAKE, Maine — Two men who suffered serious injuries in a moose crash on Wednesday morning remain in a Bangor hospital, one in critical condition.

Cyr Martin, 46, one of the victims and also the chief of the Ashland Police Department, is in fair condition at Eastern Maine Medical Center.

Melford Bouchard, 70, of Newburgh, is in critical condition at the hospital, a spokesperson said Friday afternoon.

Click to read more of the story by Jen Lynds in the Bangor Daily News.

Will write for food! … Or walk your dog!

Hey there! Hey there! I’m still trying to line up a freelance gig or two for the coming weeks. Please let me know if you are in need or know someone in need of a writer-editor-blogger-dog walker-house-sitter-dishwasher. Cheers!

9/11: When innocence was lost | The Washington Post via the Bangor Daily News

WASHINGTON — For Karen Hughes, counselor to the president of the United States, Sept. 10, 2001, was a day of celebration and relief. It was her wedding anniversary. She and husband Jerry dined at a favorite restaurant in the Watergate and reviewed the drama and chaos of the previous months.

There’d been the long presidential campaign, the disputed election, the move to Washington. They had to move a second time when the first house didn’t work out. Then a freak summer rainstorm had flooded their basement, soaking their possessions.

All that was finally behind them. And so she could say:

“We’ve survived the worst.”

And: “Things can only get better from here.”

That Monday – call it 9/10 – was the last day of a certain kind of American innocence.

Click for the rest of the piece by Joel Achenbach of The Washington Post reprinted in the Bangor Daily News.

For border towns, attacks changed a way of life | Bangor Daily News

After the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, changes at Maine’s border crossings were not subtle. More officers were added at ports of entry, inspectors became more vigilant and, in some cases, new ports were constructed.

Although less visible, the division of cross-border communities is one of the long-lasting impacts of the attacks and the heightened security and border restrictions that resulted.

Before 9/11, the border between Maine and Canada was more a line on a map than a barrier. Border agents from both countries often simply waved through the familiar faces they saw frequently crossing the international boundary. Residents of Aroostook County attended churches in New Brunswick. Canadians bought cheaper gas in The County. Socializing with friends and family on the other side of the border was routine.

Reports shortly after 19 hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon said some of the men had entered the U.S. through Canada. Although not true (the hijackers flew into the U.S. from Europe, Asia and the Middle East and had visas issued by the U.S. government), work to better secure the border soon was under way.

While millions of federal dollars have been spent on improving infrastructure — such as building new crossing facilities in Calais, Van Buren and Forest City — the change that has most affected Aroostook County residents is the requirement for a passport, passport card or NEXUS card, an alternative offered through U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to cross the border.

Click to read the rest of the story by Jen Lynds, Diana Bowley, and Sharon Kiley Mack in the Bangor Daily News, along with video.

 

Editorial: A Tale of Two Districts | Bangor Daily News

Lawmakers soon will be faced with radically different plans for redrawing the boundary between the state’s two congressional districts. One features straighter lines and a difference of only one person between the two districts — top priorities for the state’s Republicans. It does, however, move about 360,000 people from one district to another. The Democratic plan moves Vassalboro from the 1st District to the 2nd.

The choice for lawmakers should be easy — they should go with the simplest change that meets the requirements of the law and affects the fewest voters.

Recent history has shown this is unlikely to happen. Redistricting lines were imposed by the state supreme court in 2003 because lawmakers couldn’t agree on a plan. Maine doesn’t have to go down this road again.

Click to read the rest of the editorial by The Bangor Daily News.

Maine has highest state rate of casualties in Afghanistan | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Maine has highest state rate of casualties in Afghanistan | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Environmental coalition praises, criticizes lawmakers | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Environmental coalition praises, criticizes lawmakers | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

LePage signs $6.1 billion two-year Maine budget | Bangor Daily News

LePage signs $6.1 billion two-year Maine budget | Bangor Daily News

LePage’s ‘Open for Business’ sign disappears from I-95 |Bangor Daily News

AUGUSTA, Maine — In perhaps a sign of the times, the “Open for Business” highway sign that symbolized the LePage administration’s pro-business agenda may have become a casualty of Maine’s increasingly caustic political atmosphere.

The blue highway sign that Gov. Paul LePage ceremonially placed on Interstate 95in Kittery, just inside the Maine’s border, disappeared sometime during the past week. And the Maine Department of Transportation has no idea where it went.

“It has been removed and we did not remove it,” said Mark Latti, a DOT spokesman. “We alerted the governor’s office and reported it to the state police.”

The theft first was reported Wednesday by WCSH-6 in Portland. In fact, DOT staff were unaware of the sign’s disappearance until contacted by journalists from the television station inquiring whether the department had taken it down.

The oversized sign was presented to LePage on the night of his inauguration as a gift from supporters inspired by his campaign pledge to erect an “Open for Business” sign on I-95 if elected to the Blaine House. A group of supporters raised an estimated $1,300 to purchase the sign from a company that makes highway placards.

But the sign also has become a symbol for LePage’s critics of what they say is an administration intent on rolling back widely supported environmental and labor regulations.

Click for the rest of the story by Kevin Miller in the Bangor Daily News.

Vietnam veteran installs flags across hometown of Ashland | Presque Isle Star-Herald via The Bangor Daily News

Vietnam veteran installs flags across hometown of Ashland | Presque Isle Star-Herald via The Bangor Daily News

3 of 10 Mainers approve of LePage’s performance | The Associated Press via Lewiston Sun Journal

3 of 10 Mainers approve of LePage’s performance | The Associated Press via Lewiston Sun Journal

Too early to say Mitchell failed in Mideast mission: Groundwork for peace may have been laid in past two years | Portland Press Herald

“A true patriot who has answered the call to serve time and again, George Mitchell has had an impressive career. He has served admirably through his tireless work to broker peace in the Middle East. Although he is stepping down from this role, the mission will continue, and George Mitchell’s diligence, patience and intelligence will have helped pave the way toward a lasting peace. The citizens of Maine, and the world, are proud of his great work.” – Sen. Susan Collins

Those who interpret George Mitchell’s stepping down as special envoy to the Middle East as a sign of his failure there overlook his diplomatic track record.

In her statement after the announcement that George Mitchell was stepping down as President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East, Sen. Susan Collins encapsuled Mitchell’s amazing legacy in 77 carefully chosen, understated words.

He is a true patriot, Collins said, and she referenced his diligence, patience and intelligence.

No news there, but surely confirmation of what Mitchell’s fellow Mainers have always known and the rest of the world has learned over the years: George J. Mitchell Jr. is a great American, a devoted and resourceful diplomat, a man who has honored, sustained and enhanced our state’s long tradition of public service.

Click for the rest of The Portland Press Herald editorial.

Poll on Maine governor: National spotlight a glaring concern | Maine Sunday Telegram

Most Maine voters are unhappy

with the job Paul LePage

has done so far as governor

AUGUSTA – Most Maine voters think the national media attention that Gov. Paul LePage has drawn in his first four months in office has been bad for the state – including many people who support the work he has done.

And most believe he made the wrong decision in taking down a mural depicting Maine workers in the headquarters of the Department of Labor.

That’s according to a poll commissioned by MaineToday Media to assess how Mainers feel about the job the Republican governor has done since his inauguration on Jan. 5. LePage was elected in November with about 38 percent of the vote.

The poll was conducted from April 25 to May 2 by Pan Atlantic SMS Group, a Portland-based firm owned by Patrick and Victoria Murphy. Victoria Murphy is a former Maine Democratic Party chair. The firm does independent marketing and research.

About 56 percent of the respondents said they have an unfavorable opinion of LePage; about 39 percent said they have a favorable opinion of him. About 5 percent said they do not know.

Click for the rest of the story by Rebekah Metzler in The Maine Sunday Telegram.

Maine Sunday Telegram’s view: LePage won’t get vote of confidence from this poll

 When Ed Koch was mayor of New York, he used to walk around the city asking constituents: “How’m I doin’?” We haven’t heard Gov. LePage ask that question in Maine, but we’ve decided to answer it anyway.

According to a poll commissioned by MaineToday Media, LePage is getting mixed reviews from Mainers but a majority of those polled, 56 percent, said they had an unfavorable opinion of the governor. Asked to rate LePage’s job performance, about 55 percent answered “poor” or “very poor.”

Given those basic numbers – detailed poll results are published in today’s paper – the most likely answer to the question, “How’s the governor doin’?” seems to be: “Not so good.”

When more than half the people who look to the governor for leadership don’t like what they see, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that he’s doing something wrong.

Click for the rest of the editorial in The Maine Sunday Telegram.

Bill Nemitz: Ringmaster over his head under Big Top

“Governor Announces Staff Changes,” proclaimed the headline over the news release from what’s left of Gov. Paul LePage’s communications office.

It should have read, “Welcome to The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Wednesday’s sudden departures of commissioners Darryl Brown from the Department of Environmental Protection and Philip Congdon from the Department of Economic and Community Development confirm what many have long feared since Team LePage rode into Augusta promising to transform Maine state government into something . . . well, different.

They’ve done it: After just under four months, the executive branch is now officially a three-ring circus.

In one ring we have Brown, who was forced to step down after Attorney General William Schneider informed him that those pesky environmentalists were right all along: Conflict-of-interest laws prohibit Brown, who owns a development consulting firm, from presiding over the DEP.

For weeks, Brown insisted that he was not in violation of identical federal and state statutes — which made him ineligible to serve if 10 percent or more of his income in the last two years came from applicants for and holders of federal clean water permits.

He was, as he conceded Wednesday, “obviously” wrong.

Still, that didn’t stop Brown from taking a parting swipe at the Maine statute, which, like the federal law, is intended to create a little space between the regulators and the regulated. He called it “silliness.”

That’s not respect for the law, folks. That’s clown talk.

Click for the rest of the column by Bill Nemitz in the Portland Press Herald.

US Labor Dept. tells LePage: Display mural or refund money | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

US Labor Dept. tells LePage: Display mural or refund money | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.