Good morning, Maine. Here is your morning briefing.
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National and international headlines
The world’s largest beer company, which makes Bud Light, Becks and Stella Artois, is investing $2 billion in American brewing operations over the next four years.
Anheuser-Busch, which has been aggressively buying up craft breweries to make up for its flat sales, said the investment is part of an ongoing effort to expand in the United States, where craft beer sales have eclipsed Budweiser sales for four years running.
The money – which includes about $500 million in investments this year – will go toward building new distribution facilities in Los Angeles and Columbus, Ohio, and to improve existing breweries in Houston, St. Louis and Fort Collins, Colorado. Although the money will not be used to acquire additional craft breweries, executives said it would be used to expand brewing facilities for craft beer brands the company already owns.
“This is a vote of confidence in the future of American brewing,” Joao Castro Neves, president and chief executive of Anheuser-Busch, said in an interview.”We are doing our part to make the beer industry more sophisticated, complex and compelling to our consumers.”
In a career that seemed impervious to critical drubbing, Roger Moore owed his enduring box office appeal to exceptionally good looks, terrific luck and a self-deprecating charm.
The English actor, who has died at age 89 in Switzerland, became an international star in playboy-adventurer roles, first on the hit 1960s TV series “The Saint” and later for his tongue-in-cheek film portrayal of the dashing spy James Bond.
The Bond franchise, in particular, cemented his fame like no other role. The movie franchise spun off from Ian Fleming’s novels about an Oxford-educated British spook who was impudent and resourceful, a wizard with women and weaponry and impeccably dressed but capable of back-alley brutishness.
U.K. Home Secretary Amber Rudd criticized U.S. officials for leaking details about Monday’s terrorist attack in Manchester, warning Britain’s ally that it should not happen again.
The suicide bombing after a pop concert in Manchester killed 22 people and injured 59, with many children among the victims. Several details, including the identity of the attacker, appeared on U.S. media outlets before British security forces were ready to release the information.
“The British police have been very clear that they want to control the flow of information in order to protect operational integrity, the element of surprise, so it is irritating if it gets released from other sources,” Rudd told BBC Radio on Wednesday, when asked about U.S. leaks. “I have been very clear with our friends that that should not happen again.”
Taiwan’s constitutional court ruled that the island’s laws must be changed to allow gay marriage, paving the way for it to become the first place in Asia to guarantee the right.
The Justices of the Constitutional Court said in a ruling Wednesday that a civil law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman violated constitutional guarantees of equal protection. The case was brought by gay rights activist Chi Chia-wei, 58, after the Taipei city government rejected his and his long-time partner’s application to marry in 2013.
“Taiwan society has enacted true gender equality,” Chi said by phone after the decision. “It means I can die without regret.”
President Donald Trump on Tuesday proposed dramatic changes to the role of the federal government, issuing a budget plan that culls back or eliminates numerous programs that the White House says are a waste of money or create too much dependency.
Some of these programs — including Medicaid and the modern version of food stamps — provide benefits to up to a fifth of all Americans, and the breadth of the cuts has rattled lawmakers from both parties who have warned that the reductions go too far.
For Trump, his $4.094 trillion budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins in October marks his first exercise is spelling out — in great detail — how he wants the government to change.
CIA director alerted FBI to pattern of contacts between Russian officials and Trump campaign associates
The CIA alerted the FBI to a troubling pattern of contacts between Russian officials and associates of the Trump campaign last year, former agency director John Brennan testified on Tuesday, shedding new light on the origin of a criminal probe that now reaches into the White House.
In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Brennan said he became increasingly concerned that Trump associates were being manipulated by Russian intelligence services as part of a broader covert influence campaign that sought to disrupt the election and deliver the presidency to Trump.
“I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons,” Brennan said, adding that he did not see proof of collusion before he left office on January 20, but “felt as though the FBI investigation was certainly well-founded and needed to look into those issues.”
Brennan’s remarks represent the most detailed public accounting to date of his tenure as CIA director during the alleged Russian assault on the U.S. presidential race, and the agency’s role in triggering an FBI probe that Trump has sought to contain.
President Donald Trump has retained the services of a trusted lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and Russian interference in last year’s election, according to people familiar with the decision.
Kasowitz, who has known Trump for decades, has represented Trump in numerous cases, including on his divorce records, real estate transactions and allegations of fraud at Trump University. He is a partner at Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman in New York.
With the appointment last week of a special counsel to probe Russian meddling in the election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the stakes have raised considerably for the Republican president and his associates. Trump has repeatedly denied that he did anything improper and has said that he has been told he is not under investigation.
American Special Operations forces conducted a new ground raid against al-Qaida’s Yemen branch early on Tuesday, killing seven suspected militants, military officials said.
The operation, led by a team of Navy SEALs and supported by an array of Special Operations forces, takes place as the Trump administration intensifies its counterterrorism operations in Yemen, where al-Qaida’s most virulent offshoot is believed to be plotting attacks against the West.
The leaders of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday they would subpoena two of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s businesses after Flynn declined to comply with a subpoena for documents in the panel’s Russia probe.
“While we disagree with General Flynn’s lawyers’ interpretation of taking the Fifth … it’s even more clear that a business does not have a right to take the Fifth,” the panel’s vice chairman, Democratic Senator Mark Warner, told reporters, referring to Flynn’s decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
The committee issued a subpoena for Flynn to provide documents related to its investigation of possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and whether there was collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations and Trump denies any collusion.
Flynn’s attorney said on Monday he declined to comply.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday it will not impose any fine or take any action after receiving thousands of complaints about a May 1 broadcast of CBS Corp’s “Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
Talk show comedian Stephen Colbert made a joke about President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin that was bleeped before airing, which prompted complaints and a campaign on social media to convince CBS to fire Colbert.
FCC spokesman Neil Grace said Tuesday the agency has reviewed the complaints and “concluded that there was nothing actionable under the FCC’s rules.”
Maine’s high court said Tuesday that the state’s first-in-the-nation ranked-choice voting system is unconstitutional, throwing the voter-approved law into jeopardy ahead of the key 2018 campaign when it was supposed to be implemented.
In a unanimous, 44-page opinion issued Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court’s seven justices agreed with Attorney General Janet Mills, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap and Republican legislators that the system violates a provision of the Maine Constitution that allows elections to be won by pluralities — and not necessarily majorities — of votes.
A 1980 Brewer High School graduate will soon be reunited with her class ring after losing it more than three decades ago.
“I remember when I lost it and I was upset,” said Cathy Bradstreet, of Searsmont, who learned Tuesday morning the ring she lost in the early 1980s — and had assumed was sitting at the bottom of a lake or the ocean — was waiting for her in Nova Scotia.
She couldn’t recall ever taking it to Nova Scotia, so she was “shocked” when she got the call from her senior class president on Tuesday morning saying the ring had been found.
Johnny Ward came across the ring in the early 1990s while he was cleaning the women’s restroom of a now closed Irving gas station in Glenholme, Nova Scotia, according to the Canadian television network CTV.
The ring has a pinkish-red stone and engravings that read, “Brewer High School,” “1980,” the initials “C.A.J.,” and included a picture of a witch, the school’s mascot, according to CTV.
Ward had kept Bradstreet’s ring behind the counter of the gas station before it shut down about 20 years ago, according to CTV. The ring has been at Ward’s house since, but he was recently urged by his girlfriend to try and find its owner. So he reached out to the Canadian TV station to help solve the mystery.
In an effort to better integrate immigrants into the community and boost the region’s workforce, Bangor may spend $100,000 to help pay for staff at the city’s new multicultural center.
At a city council meeting on Monday evening, councilors Sean Faircloth and Joe Baldacci proposed the city help fund two positions at the city’s Maine Multicultural Center.
Another attempt to allow physician-assisted suicide in Maine ended Tuesday with an 85-61 vote against it in the House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, would have legalized an extended process through which a terminally ill patient who has the mental capacity to do so could end his or her life with the assistance of a doctor.
Maine could be doing more to support early childhood education programs aimed at children from birth to age 2 from impoverished families, according to a recent University of New Hampshire study.
Maine has 837 Early Head Start slots offered at 44 sites across Maine, largely concentrated in central and southern parts of the state near population centers. Each county has at least one EHS program.
But as many as 8,000 Maine children could be eligible for the program based on U.S. Census data, according to the study conducted by the Carsey School of Public Policy. It’s primarily geared toward families whose incomes fall below federal poverty guidelines — $28,290 per year for a family of four in 2017.
“Maine’s [Early Head Start] programming serves an important segment of the vulnerable population, including the state’s youngest children, all of whom are facing some kind of economic or social disadvantage,” researchers wrote in the report.
A heavier flow of bills moving to the floors of the legislative chambers means more vetoes from the all-time champion in that statistic: Gov. Paul LePage.
The House of Representatives will vote on whether to override another five vetoes today, including one of a bill that would actually hurt Maine newspapers, which sit just below “liberals” on the Republican governor’s list of enemies. (Or, perhaps more accurately, he just sees them as the same thing.)
Yes, the veto — if sustained — actually helps Maine’s newspaper industry, even though he hammered us for “unabashed liberal bias” and “third-rate reporting” in his veto letter.
The city has condemned a large building on the edge of downtown after squatters were found living in it, officials said.
The owner of the prominent building at 72 State St. said he is close to finding a new tenant, but city officials say the property has been vacant since at least 2013 and needs repairs before anyone would be allowed to move in.
“It’s been frustrating watching the building deteriorate,” Tanya Emery, the city’s community and economic development director, said. “If the owner has a tenant, and we certainly hope that is the case, there would need to be significant repairs and upgrades to it before they could move in.”
The Connecticut native sought in connection with the Easter homicide of a Bangor man waived extradition during a court appearance in Cleveland on Tuesday.
Antoinne J. “Prince” Bethea, 40, formerly of New Haven, Connecticut, was ordered turned over to Penobscot County sheriffs during his appearance before Judge Timothy McCormick in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday, court records show.
Bethea was arrested on a fugitive from justice charge on Sunday after police stopped a car in Euclid, Ohio, in which he was a passenger, Bangor police have said.
Living and events
You almost have to pause for a moment when you step through the door at 173 Park Street. You’ve exited the streets of Bangor and found yourself somewhere far away, where you can slow down, perhaps curl up with a coffee and good book and just take a moment to yourself.
Strands of lights illuminate the open ceiling and instrumental music plays quietly throughout. To your left is a hand-painted mural. To your right, there’s seating — booths, tables and more. And there’s more art, an entire wall of it, actually. You can’t miss the faux fireplace too; it adds a certain ambiance.
There’s no doubt: Wicked Brew Coffee Bar, Bangor’s newest coffeehouse, is so inviting.
Three hundred years ago, the pirate ship Whydah, sank in a storm off Cape Cod laden with bounty from more than 50 captured ships.
On May 26, the classical age of piracy comes to life in Portland when the Portland Science Center at 68 Commercial St., Maine Wharf, welcomes “Real Pirates: An Exhibition from National Geographic.” Tickets for the general public go on sale April 26, at portlandsciencecenter.com.
The 7,000-square-foot interactive exhibition showcases more than 150 artifacts, including everyday objects, personal items, and treasures, from the first fully authenticated pirate ship ever to be discovered in U.S. waters.
Exhibitions International, a leading producer of touring exhibitions, presents “Real Pirates,” with organizational expertise from the National Geographic Society.
Solar prices have never been lower! Solarize Midcoast Maine program participants receive discounted solar pricing.
Come meet Sundog Solar, the Solarize Midcoast Maine installer, learn about the benefits of solar power, and get a free consultation about solar energy for your home.
The session will be held at Belfast Free Library, 106 High Street, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 31.
Come to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, June, to sample wings from restaurants all over the Bangor region. You will get to vote for your favorite wing of the night and the winner will receive a huge trophy, bragging rights and a profile in Bangor Metro magazine.
Tickets are just $20 per person and can be reserved online at wingfestmaine.com They will be $25 at the door.
Every Tuesday in June from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the Abbe Museum at Sieur de Monts is hosting an archaeologist-led program where you can learn about Wabanaki material culture and the archaeological record in Maine.
This is a hands-on activity where you can touch artifacts and replicas while learning about Wabanaki cultural adaptations over the past 12,000 years.
This is a drop-in event so there’s no registration required!
The Camden Public Library will have a book sale in the renovated Blue Door Book Shed located in the parking lot just beyond the Library Amphitheatre on Atlantic Avenue 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 2-4. Just follow the balloons from the library to the book shed!
There you will find hardcover, softcover, and paperback books on subjects from art to travel, cookbooks and maritime-related books; books for children and teens; a variety of CDs, audiobooks, movies, and music; and a selection of reference books that might be particularly helpful to area homeschoolers.
The No. 1 pollutant in Maine’s lakes is soil eroding from shorelines, roads, yards, and construction sites.
Join us for a day of service at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery and help restore the shore and protect the waters of Alamoosook Lake. Volunteers will gather 9 a.m. to noon June 10 at the hatchery to plant native shrubs, improve beach access, and place interpretive signs along the shoreline.
The Old Town Public Library, in partnership with the Bangor Public Health and Community Services, will be hosting a seminar entitled “Be a Life Saver” from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. June 21.
Heath Myers, an Overdose Prevention Coordinator with Bangor Public Health and Community Services will discuss overdose symptoms and risk factors, how to react to an overdose, medication safety, Naloxone, and treatment and recovery.
Free take-home materials will be provided.
Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law new rules for companies that sell electricity directly to Maine homeowners and, on average, have cost them millions above the default rate.
The law will tighten rules for retail electricity companies automatically renewing customer contracts, requiring new disclosures and an actual affirmative response from customers if the new rate equals an increase of 20 percent or more.
It will also prohibit companies from charging a termination fee for re-enrollments done without specific consent from the customer.
Sen. Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, sponsored the bill and Rep. Norm Higgins, R-Dover-Foxcroft, co-sponsored it in the wake of a Bangor Daily News investigation that found Maine’s residential customers of competitive electricity providers, or CEPs, paid at least $50 million more than if they had received the default power rate, from 2012 to 2015.
Owners of the shuttered UPM-Kymmene mill in Madison will sell off 3,000 separate pieces of industrial equipment through a three-day online auction starting June 13.
The joint partnership of asset liquidators running the sale said the mill’s Valmet paper machine will be sold through private negotiation while the rest of the equipment will be sold through the auction.
After parting ways with the most-watched personalities in cable news and firing its founder over allegations of sexual harassment, the conservative-oriented Fox dropped to third place last week in prime time among the viewers that advertisers court, a spot it hasn’t occupied for almost 17 years. Meanwhile, left-leaning MSNBC soared to No. 1 for a second straight week, helped by news on probes into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.
The reversal marks a big shakeup in TV news and could alter the fortunes of all three news networks — Fox, MSNBC and CNN — if it lasts.
Telling the Maine Department of Transportation to refuse to install signs does not hurt Roxanne Quimby, former President Barack Obama or Maine’s environmental groups — all of whom have been a target of LePage’s ire over the monument, Maine’s first. Instead, it hurts residents and businesses in the Katahdin region that have been hit hard by the closure of the area’s paper mills and the forest products industry’s decline. Although it has only existed for nine months, the monument has already attracted new visitors and investment to the area. This is something LePage has failed to do in his more than six years as governor.
What is especially imprudent are LePage’s ongoing efforts to kill the monument. Before it was created, he complained vociferously that the privately owned land, which Quimby’s family foundation donated to the U.S. government along with a $40 million endowment, wasn’t worthy of a federal designation.
Once the designation was made, he continued his campaign against it. He urged President Donald Trump to void the monument designation in February. Earlier this month, he again testified at a congressional hearing, reiterating his claims that the land was mosquito infested and downplaying the importance of tourism to Maine. He lobbied the Trump administration to belatedly add Katahdin Woods and Waters to the list of national monuments that the Interior Department is reviewing.
Now he’s using that review to try to prevent people from visiting the monument, thereby potentially hampering its success.
House Republicans earlier this month passed a health care bill that would be a disaster for American families. It would take away health insurance for 24 million people, gut Medicaid funding to the tune of $880 billion per year and raise insurance costs by as much as 20 percent. It also would devastate the lives and well-being of the one in five Americans who suffer from mental health or substance use disorders.
The entire night had been so amazing, and Ariana preached so much positivity and happiness. What happened makes me sad because concerts are supposed to be safe and a celebration of music. More than four hours later, I was still unable to sleep. I hope Ariana is staying strong because nobody expected tonight to end the way it did, and she is such a kind and compassionate role model. I am shocked and at a loss for words. My heart goes out to the victims and their families — nobody deserved to experience the events of this night. And I truly believe the community of Manchester has been brought even closer together.