Off-duty firefighter saves a young girl after she falls out of a moving church van onto a highway

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National and international headlines

Video shows 4-year-old girl falling out of a moving church van onto a highway

The rear door on a church van traveling along Highway 65 in northern Arkansas swung open, with a child hanging from the handle.

Dash-cam video showed a 4-year-old girl hang briefly from the door before she let go, hitting the pavement and rolling into traffic. EMT and volunteer firefighter Ryan Ciampoli, who was driving behind the van when the unthinkable happened Wednesday, said he swerved to signal drivers behind him that something was wrong.

“I didn’t believe what I was seeing,” Ciampoli told The Washington Post.

He pulled over and ran to the girl, who, he said, was initially unconscious.

“I knelt down and started talking to her,” he said. “She put her arm up like, ‘Get me.’” The 31-year-old EMT added that first-responders usually do not like to move injured patients — but he needed to get the girl out of the road, so he scooped her up, he said.

Ciampoli said the girl was bloodied, with a broken jaw, broken teeth and lacerations covering her face.

A still taken from a video of an off-duty firefighter saving a young girl after she fell from a church van.

The video shows Ciampoli kneeling in the road, holding the child for a moment before eventually carrying her from the highway.

“She started kicking and screaming once that adrenaline kicked in and asking, ‘Where’s my mommy?’ ” he said. “I kept reassuring her — ‘You’re going to be OK.’”

Elton John recovering from ‘potentially deadly’ infection

Elton John contracted “a harmful and unusual” bacterial infection during his recent South American tour and, after an extended hospital stay that included two nights in intensive care, has canceled all of his shows scheduled for April and May, The Washington Post reports.

Singer Elton John performs in New York City, March 2, 2016.
Mike Segar | REUTERS

“During his return flight home from Santiago, Chile, he became violently ill,” his reps said Monday in a statement. “Upon returning to the UK, Elton’s Doctors admitted him to hospital, where he underwent immediate treatment to remove the infection.”

John was discharged Saturday and on doctor’s orders is resting at home. He’s expected to make a full recovery.

These pesky caterpillars seem to digest plastic bags

The shopping bag is an infamous source of plastic pollution. The 2010 documentary “Bag It” estimated that Americans use 102 billion plastic bags per year. Bags are persistent. Plastic at the waste dump can last for an estimated 1,000 years.

BDN file

Of course, plastic bags are useful, too. Federica Bertocchini, a biologist at Spain’s Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria and a hobbyist beekeeper, used such a bag to collect pests called wax worms.

She plucked the wax worms from the beehives and dropped the caterpillars into a plastic bag — only to find “the worms all around and the plastic bag full of holes,” as Bertocchini said in an email to The Washington Post. Bertocchini is an expert in embryonic development, not in caterpillars or things that chew through plastic. But the accidental discovery was too intriguing to pass up.

Robert Pirsig, author of counterculture classic ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,’ dies at 88

In the nearly five years it took Robert Pirsig to sell “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” 121 publishers rejected the rambling novel.

The 122nd gently warned Pirsig, a former rhetoric professor who had a job writing technical manuals, not to expect more than his $3,000 advance.

“The book is not, as I think you now realize from your correspondence with other publishers, a marketing man’s dream,” the editor at William Morrow wrote in a congratulatory note before its 1974 publication.

He was wrong. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values” sold 50,000 copies in three months and more than 5 million in the decades since. The dense tome has been translated into at least 27 languages. A reviewer for the New Yorker likened its author to Herman Melville. Its popularity made Pirsig “probably the most widely read philosopher alive,” a British journalist wrote in 2006.

Pirsig, a perfectionist who published only one major work after “Zen” but inspired college classes, academic conferences and a legion of “Pirsig pilgrims” who retrace the anguished, cross-country motorcycle trip at the heart of his novel, died Monday at his home in South Berwick, Maine, The Associated Press confirmed. He was 88 and had been in failing health.

Russia is sending weapons to Taliban, top US general confirms

The general in charge of U.S. forces in Afghanistan appeared to confirm Monday that Russia is sending weapons to the Taliban, an intervention that will likely further complicate the 15-year-old war here and the Kremlin’s relations with the United States, The Washington Post reports.

When asked by reporters, Gen. John Nicholson did not refute claims that the Taliban are receiving weapons and other supplies from the Russians.

“We continue to get reports of this assistance,” Nicholson said speaking to reporters alongside Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. “We support anyone who wants to help us advance the reconciliation process, but anyone who arms belligerents who perpetuate attacks like the one we saw two days ago in Mazar-e Sharif is not the best way forward to a peaceful reconciliation.”

On Friday, roughly a dozen militants infiltrated a sprawling Afghan base near the city of Mazar-e Sharif. Using suicide vests and small arms, the militants – disguised as Afghan soldiers – wreaked havoc at the installation and, according to some reports, killed at least 140 Afghans and wounded 60.

The six-hour assault began as Afghan soldiers were leaving their weekly prayers or ambling to the base’s dining facility. The Taliban fighters were eventually killed by a response force led by Afghan commandos. Nicholson praised the elite but overworked unit’s response for bringing the “atrocity to an end.”

Trump pushes Democrats on border wall as government shutdown looms

President Donald Trump pressed Democrats on Monday to include funds for his promised border wall with Mexico in spending legislation as lawmakers worked to avoid a looming shutdown of the federal government, Reuters reports.

The battle offers the Republican president, whose approval ratings have slid since he took office, a chance to either score his first big legislative win or be mired in a Washington stalemate as he marks 100 days in office on Saturday.

Congressional leaders will likely have to decide by late on Tuesday whether negotiations are progressing enough to try to pass a spending bill funding the government through September, Sen. Roy Blunt, a member of the Republican leadership and Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters Monday.

If negotiations have slowed or stalled, Congress could pursue a short-term extension of existing spending levels to avoid parts of the federal government shutting down at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, giving lawmakers more time to reach a deal. Leading Democrats have said they would support such a measure only if talks are progressing.

Local headlines

Trump, LePage actions threaten Maine’s national monument

Maine’s national monument will be attacked on two fronts if, as anticipated, President Donald Trump orders a review of monument designations later this week, and Gov. Paul LePage testifies before Congress on May 1 against executive orders that create monuments without state approval, the BDN’s Nick Sambides Jr. reports.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (left) and Lucas St. Clair of Elliotsville Plantation Inc. paddle on the East Branch of the Penobscot River in the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016.
John Holyoke | BDN

LePage will fly to Washington, D.C. to testify before a House Committee on Natural Resources subcommittee next week in opposition to national monument designations created by presidential order, the governor confirmed Monday during a press conference in Augusta.

“The Legislature in Maine said [it] didn’t want a national park or monument and he [President Barack Obama] went ahead and did it anyway,” LePage said Monday. “I’m going to say he violated the Antiquities Act and it should be reversed.”

The committee’s spokeswoman, Molly Block, said she could not confirm the hearing or LePage’s attendance, but might be able to later this week.

“We’re happy to see an administration finally taking action to resolve the many abuses of the Antiquities Act,” Block told the BDN in an email Monday.

Persistent rain to soak the state this week

Keep an umbrella handy during the next few days.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook for southern, western and coastal parts of Maine in advance of a weather system that will bring persistent rain to Maine over the next week, the BDN’s Nick McCrea reports.

Rain falls into a puddle in Bangor.
BDN file

Forecasters expect more than 1.5 inches of rain to fall along the Maine coast and in Waterville south by Wednesday night. Bangor is expected to see more than an inch of rain. The rainfall totals diminish farther north.

Lincoln woman drove Bangor murder fugitive to Portland

The Lincoln woman arrested Friday for allegedly interfering with the capture of a fugitive wanted for murder in the Easter homicide of a man on Ohio Street drove him to Portland after the shooting, the BDN’s Nok-Noi Ricker reports

“She simply was asked to drive the vehicle,” Dawn Corbett, the attorney assigned to represent Cindy McVicar, 45, of Lincoln, said Monday at the Penobscot Judicial Center. “She did not know what happened or what was going on.”

McVicar is charged with Class B hindering apprehension and/or prosecution in the search for Antoinne “Prince” Bethea, 40, who is wanted in the April 16 fatal shooting of Terrance Durel Sr., 36, of New Orleans, Louisiana, and formerly Brewer.

Assistant Attorney General Leane Zainea said McVicar was charged with a felony because she “misled officers” about her drive to Portland and her whereabouts once there.

Zainea added that in the probable cause affidavit, which is sealed, McVicar “indicated she knew about [Bethea’s] conduct.”

Muslim Portlander says former boss taunted her with pork before firing her

A Portland woman has filed a discrimination suit against a national furniture retailer, claiming that she was harassed by fellow employees and ultimately fired from a job at its local branch because she is Muslim, the BDN’s Jake Bleiberg reports.

Leyla Hashi claims that in 2015 she was abruptly fired from her job at Aaron’s, a rent-to-own furniture and appliance store on Forest Avenue, after requesting a day off to observe a religious holiday.

Living and events

Maine People’s Climate March on Augusta

Between the State House and Cross office building, 111 Sewall St, Augusta, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 29.

1850s political rally and dinner

The Game Loft’s major gala event of the year will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at the Belfast Shrine Club, 20 Northport Ave., Belfast. A full evening in the year 1856 awaits our guests featuring an historical menu, pre-Civil War politics, a bit of Game Loft dinner theater where our guests will help young Elizabeth Chartwell chose between Love and Freedom, a performance by the Game Loft Youth Choral group with some of the popular tunes of the time, and a period dance called by Chrissy Fowler and featuring music by Sassafras Stomp.

Bangor Community Theatre presents Moilere’s ‘The Imaginary Invalid’

Argan, a terrible hypochondriac, is always seeking medical advice from any doctor or pharmacist, real or quack, that he can find. His bills are mounting and he has come up with a ridiculously tangled plan in an effort to solve his problems.

With a scheming wife, a saucy maid, mistaken identities, and faked deaths the hilarity is non-stop! You’re not going to want to miss Moliere’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” directed by Irene Dennis.

You can see a performance at the Historic Bangor Grange Hall, 1192 Ohio St., Bangor.