This Maine hospital is offering you a chance to stroll through a giant colon

Good morning, Maine. Here’s your morning briefing.

National and international headlines

Ivanka Trump reverses course, will become a government employee

Ivanka Trump will officially become an unpaid government employee after she initially said she would serve as an informal adviser to her father from her office in the West Wing, according to The Washington Post.

Last week, the Trump administration announced that she would take an office in the West Wing and would not be paid but would remain an informal adviser without a job description. But the arrangement raised ethical questions,

“We are pleased that Ivanka Trump has chosen to take this step in her unprecedented role as First Daughter and in support of the President,” the White House said in a statement. “Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”

Trump made the decision to become a government employee after government watchdog groups raised concerns about the arrangement announced last week, for which she would also receive security clearance.

Now as a government employee she is required to comply with all ethics rules as other federal employees.

Astronaut Peggy Whitson set to break spacewalk record

Here’s a piece of breaking news from outer space.

Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson is set to go on her eighth spacewalk Thursday morning and surpass astronaut Suni Williams’ record for the most spacewalks by a female astronaut, according to NASA.

She is scheduled to exit the Quest airlock Thursday at 8 a.m. for 6.5 hours of station maintenance work.

Watch her spacewalk live below.

Suspended Fox News expert returns and doubles down on baseless wiretapping claims

Nearly two weeks ago, Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano was reportedly pulled from the air for making baseless claims that British intelligence officials spied on Donald Trump in 2016 at the request of former President Barack Obama, The Washington Post reports.

But Napolitano returned to the network on Wednesday, making an appearance on “Fox & Friends” where he doubled down on the claims that reportedly got him suspended in the first place.

“Yes, I do, and the sources stand by it,” Napolitano said on the program. “And the American public needs to know more about this rather than less because a lot of the government surveillance authorities will expire in the fall and there’ll be a great debate about how much authority we want the government to have to surveil us. And the more the American public knows about this, the more informed their and Congress’s decisions will be.”

It is unclear if Napolitano would be disciplined again for repeating the allegations. A Fox News spokesperson told The Washington Post that “the matter was addressed internally.” She declined to comment further.

‘Build that wall?’ Some Canadians join call for more border control

Candidates for leadership of Canada’s opposition Conservative Party are calling for drastic measures to halt the flow of asylum seekers fleeing the United States into Canada, including deployment of the Canadian army to detain would-be refugees as they cross the border, The Washington Post reports.

This get-tough approach reflects public opinion surveys that show a hardening of attitudes among some Canadians toward the asylum seekers and immigration in general.

Kevin O’Leary, a reality-TV celebrity and neophyte politician who has taken a Trumplike approach to his quest for the Conservative leadership, says illegal crossings are “unacceptable” and that Canada must beef up its border security to avert a flood of refugees.

Local headlines

Patriots’ Super Bowl trophy coming to Bangor

The Lombardi Trophy that the New England Patriots won this year for a fifth time in Super Bowl history will visit the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Saturday, the BDN’s Nick Sambides Jr. reports.

Bangor Mayor Joe Baldacci said the trophy is coming in response to an invitation he and the mayors of Brewer and Portland extended in February in response to a reported snub of the team by Gov. Paul LePage, who said he would not invite the team to Augusta.

“I couldn’t be happier. I am on Cloud 9,” Baldacci added. “I think it’s a show of respect for Bangor, and Bangor welcomes the Patriots with open arms. We are very proud of our city and of our Patriots.”

Maine’s public universities to see first tuition bump in six years

The BDN’s Nick McCrea reports that the Maine public university system is expected to raise tuition after it held tuition flat for six years, an uncommon streak.

“Our six-year tuition freeze helped Maine become a national leader in public higher education affordability ensuring that we keep quality education with the financial reach of Maine families while our savings initiatives have brought all seven campus budgets into balance,” University of Maine System Chancellor James Page said Monday. “We now have plans to make reasonable, strategic investments in student success initiatives and campus facilities to prepare our students and Maine’s workforce for the future.”

UMS officials have said they expect tuition to increase based on inflation in coming years.

Maine man taken off transplant list for using medical marijuana

Garry Godfrey has Alport syndrome, a hereditary disease that causes renal failure at a young age. He said it also causes debilitating pain, nausea and anxiety.

“I’ve tried so many pharmaceuticals and none of them worked, but the medical cannabis does,” Godfrey told CBS affiliate WGME in Portland. “It helps me function. It helps me take care of my kids.”

But he has been taken off a kidney transplant wait list for using medical marijuana, and lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit Maine hospitals from doing that.

One local hospital said there are medical reasons to disqualify patients who use marijuana.

Upcoming events

Inflatable colon to visit Waldo County General Hospital

Have you ever wanted to get a close-up look at a polyp or cancerous colon tissue? Me neither, but you also probably don’t want them to develop in the first place.

Waldo County General Hospital’s endoscopy department will be hosting a giant inflatable colon to raise awareness of colon cancer.

(Photo credit: Toni Mailloux)

The public is invited to get the latest updates on prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment of colon cancer.

You can take a stroll through the colon from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday at the Biscone Building at 119 Northport Ave, which is across the street from the hospital.

The event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Your weather update for Thursday, March 30, 2017

The day is off to a cool start. The wake-up temperature in Bangor is about 30 degrees, just a little lower than in Portland, where everyone is waking up to a 33 degree temp.

But those temps will rise to a more seasonable level in the low to mid-40s across much of southern, coastal and inland areas of the state, according to the National Weather Service. Up in the northern reaches, the temperatures will hover in the mid-30s.

Those seasonable temps and sunshine will move aside as snowstorm moves into southern Maine on Friday, bringing with it as much as 6 to 8 inches in Sanford, 4 to 6 inches in Portland, and 2 to 3 inches in Jackman near the Canadian border and along the midcoast.

If you live in eastern or northern Maine, you will likely not see much significant snowfall, according to the weather service.

We can all hope it’s an early April Fool’s Day joke, but we would only be so lucky.

On the lighter side

This protester in the United Kingdom tried to burn the flag of the European Union, but the bloc’s regulations on flammable material made that a difficult task. Enjoy.