This millionaire has a promising idea for space exploration. But he says aliens are already here.

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National and international headlines

This millionaire has a promising idea for space exploration. But he says aliens are already here.

Interdimensional Guardians via Flickr

The millionaires leading mankind’s march to space have a few things in common — in particular, starry-eyed visions of sending humans to the final frontier and galaxy-sized bank accounts to launch their ideas into orbit.

But the motivation of Robert Bigelow — who made millions in the extended stay motel industry, then launched his own aerospace company — is kind of, well, out there.

Bigelow told “60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan that not only is he “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist, but he and his family members have had personal experiences with beings from another planet.

“There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence,” he said. “And I spent millions and millions and millions — I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject.”

By his own admission, it was millions that may not have been needed to make contact with beings from another planet.

“You don’t have to go anywhere,” he said. “It’s just like right under people’s noses. Oh my gosh. Wow.”

Chance of a recession by 2022 is 70 percent, according to a major investment firm

A sign displays the trading session’s closing numbers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York City, May 17, 2017.

Investors should be on guard for a recession in the next five years by stockpiling cash for the day when stocks and bonds – as they always do – go on sale.

So says Pacific Management Investment, the bond mutual fund giant known as Pimco.

“Investors should use cyclical rallies to build cash to deploy when markets correct and risks are re-priced,” according to Pimco’s annual “secular outlook” report released Wednesday.

The asset firm, with $1.51 trillion under management, puts the risk of recession at 70 percent over the next half-decade.

Comey preparing to testify before Senate about Trump conversations

Former FBI Director James Comey.

Former FBI Director James Comey is preparing to testify to Congress as early as next week about his private conversations with President Donald Trump leading up to his abrupt firing, according to people familiar with the matter.

Since his dismissal earlier this month, Comey had been expected to testify at some point about his private interactions with the president, as well as the detailed memos he took describing the conversations.

Health officials vow to develop drugs to curb the opioid epidemic

OxyContin, in 80 mg pills. Health officials are rushing to develop new drugs that are less addictive than opioids.
Liz O. Baylen | TNS

Top federal health officials said Wednesday that they will launch a joint effort with pharmaceutical companies to accelerate the development of drugs aimed at helping to curb the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Nora Volkow, who heads one its components, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), announced a public-private partnership aimed at cutting in half the time ordinarily needed to develop new therapies.

The goal is to rapidly bring to market three types of drugs: nonaddictive medications for chronic pain, better treatments for opioid addiction and improved methods of reversing opioid overdoses.

Local headlines

Obamacare premiums are up in Maine, and here’s why

Paul Ryan, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, attends a news conference after a meeting with Estonia’s Prime Minister Juri Ratas in Tallinn, Estonia, April 22, 2017.

The Trump administration recently released a report showing that health insurance premiums in Maine have jumped 55 percent under Obamacare. Nationally, monthly premiums have doubled for Americans in the Obamacare market since the health reform law took effect, it found.

The new report on premiums gave Republicans some handy ammunition to fire back and remind everyone just how terrible (they think) Obamacare is.

As you might expect, there’s more to this story than the headline figures.

Tick-borne Powassan virus sickens two in midcoast Maine

A female deer tick (left) and a nymph deer tick
Griffin Dill

Two residents of midcoast Maine are recovering from the Powassan virus, a rare but life-threatening illness spread by a tick bite.

Powassan is only one of several diseases caused by ticks that are on the rise in Maine. Lyme disease, the most prevalent, rose to a record 1,464 cases last year. Anaplasmosis, a bacterial infection that can lead to similar long-term effects as Lyme without a proper diagnosis, climbed dramatically as well.

Powassan is spread by the bite of an infected deer or woodchuck tick and can cause fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion and seizures. Brain swelling is a potentially devastating complication that kills 10 percent of those who develop it, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Partisan gulf on school aid stalemates Maine budget talks

Desks and chairs were gathered in the gymnasium of Frankfort Elementary School to be transported to other schools in the area.
BDN file

A Tuesday meeting of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee showed just how far apart Maine Democrats and Republicans are on education funding with a key deadline on the state’s two-year budget looming in less than a week.

Education is the big issue in these sensitive budget negotiations. Republicans say they won’t accept a budget that doesn’t repeal the voter-approved surtax on incomes over $200,000 to fund education. Most Democrats say they won’t accept one not funding 55 percent of basic K-12 education costs, a standard set by voters in 2004 that the state hasn’t yet met.

Man slashing tires at campground subdued with duct tape

Campers used duct tape to subdue a man who allegedly was slashing tires at a Canaan campground causing $3,000 worth of damage Sunday evening, according to the Morning Sentinel.

Police arrested Brandon York, 26, of Minot and charged him with criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon, assault and criminal mischief.

Living and events

‘One peaceful place’: Midcoast man builds tiny house by hand

Vinny Marotta bought five acres of land in Thorndike a few years ago hoping to build a small house without going into debt. He cleared a patch of forest, landscaped a portion of it and as he had money he built a 10-by-10 foot building, often using repurposed materials.
Gabor Degre | BDN

In a small clearing off a sleepy dirt road in Thorndike, something surprising is tucked behind a screen of trees: an emerald-green lawn with a handmade tiny house sitting on it that juts up to the sky.

The house, the lawn and the other myriad homesteading projects happening in the clearing are the product of one man’s imagination, rabid work ethic and ability to make something cool out of mostly reclaimed and recycled materials.

Maine Whoopie Pie Festival seeking bakers and volunteers

The 2017 Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, scheduled for June 24, has several open slots remaining for bakers. This year, a couple of local bakers who have been with the festival since its inception were not able to make it due to prior commitments, leaving space for new talent to register.

Anyone interested in a booth at the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival should visit for information as soon as possible.

Last year, Dover-Foxcroft saw nearly 10,000 visitors come through the gates. For those who register as vendors or bakers, the day promises success.

Festival organizers are always on the lookout for volunteers, and this year is no different. Help is needed at the festival gates, to sell merchandise and to offer support to our vendors.

Wingfest Maine

Come to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, June 1, 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 They will be $25 at the door.

Layers in Time: Hands-on Exploration of Wabanaki Life and Culture Through the Ages

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!

Library book sale — at the Shed!

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.

Everyone knows it’s windy — The state of wind energy

The Northeast Wind Resource Center, in partnership with Clean Energy Group, E2Tech, and the Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative, is hosting a forum 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 9 to discuss onshore and offshore wind power on a national, regional, and state level.

Volunteer Shoreline Restoration Day

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.

Opioid addiction seminar to be held at the Old Town Public Library

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.

Business headlines

Maine regulators OK FairPoint’s $1.5 billion sale

FairPoint Communications’ Bangor office entrance is seen in this photo taken Monday, Oct. 26, 2009.
BDN file

Maine regulators have approved FairPoint Communications’ sale to the Illinois-based Consolidated Communications, in a deal that requires the new owner to invest $52.2 million in the company’s networks over three years.

Regulators found during deliberations Wednesday that the deal would put the company on a stronger financial footing and that the terms of the deal, with the negotiated settlement, would not harm Maine customers.

LePage veto leaves Maine ‘blue law’ in effect, keeping groceries closed on 3 holidays

Tozier’s owner Dale Tozier (left) talks with Holly Smith at the store in Bucksport in a 2014 file photo.
Ashley L. Conti | BDN

A Maine “blue law” barring small grocery stores from opening on Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter will stay in effect after Republicans failed to override Gov. Paul LePage’s veto, with the governor saying a bill to let them open didn’t go far enough.

In an 87-51 vote on Wednesday, the Maine House of Representatives failed to reach the two-thirds majority required to override the Republican governor’s veto of a bill to allow cities and towns to let stores measuring between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet open on those holidays.

ExxonMobil fails to fend off shareholder rebellion over climate change

ExxonMobil failed to fend off a shareholder rebellion over climate change, as investors with 62.3 percent of shares voted to instruct the oil giant to report on the impact of global measures designed to keep climate change to 2 degrees centigrade.

Although the identity of voters wasn’t disclosed, a source familiar with the vote said that major financial advisory firm BlackRock had cast its shares in opposition to Exxon management and that Vanguard and State Street had likely done the same. All three financial giants have been openly considering casting their votes against management on this key proxy resolution at the annual meeting Wednesday.

BlackRock and Vanguard are the biggest shareholders in ExxonMobil, owning 13 percent, or $43.6 billion worth, of the company’s stock. A vote by them against management marked an important step for groups that have been trying to force corporations to adopt greater disclosure and transparency about the financial fallout of climate change.

Opinion headlines

Washington County prison mess provides opportunity to improve corrections system

The Downeast Correctional Facility in Machiasport.
BDN file

The situation surrounding the Downeast Correctional Facility is a crisis of Gov. Paul LePage’s own making. But it may provide an opportunity to make needed improvements to the state’s correctional system.

That can only happen, however, if the current back-and-forth over the Washington County prison is put on hold to allow time for a thorough review of its place in the state’s correctional system.

Freedom of speech and inquiry under attack on campuses

A demonstrator against President Donald Trump snatches a sign from a conservative demonstrator during a Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, April 15, 2017.

More and more, it seems, intolerance of thought has become a major problem where it should least exist: the campuses of America’s colleges and universities. Match that with a general misunderstanding of the First Amendment, and the result is an intolerable atmosphere that aims at the very heart of higher education in our democratic republic.

Main Street retailers just won a victory over the big banks

George Danby | BDN

The repeal of the Durbin Amendment would effectively end debit-card swipe-fee reform, enabling the big banks and credit card companies to double the cost of accepting debit cards as a form of payment. This reform was one of the few positive outcomes from the Dodd-Frank Act. By limiting the ability of big banks and credit card giants to impose massive and arbitrary fees on debit card transactions, this amendment was a huge win for Main Street and an effective blow to Wall Street.