Good morning, Maine. Here is your morning briefing.
Mostly cloudy with light rain throughout the day. Temperatures will be in the upper 50s. Check your local forecast here.
National and international headlines
Seven percent of all American adults believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows, according to a nationally representative online survey commissioned by the Innovation Center of U.S. Dairy.
If you do the math, that works out to 16.4 million misinformed, milk-drinking people. The equivalent of the population of Pennsylvania (and then some!) does not know that chocolate milk is milk, cocoa and sugar.
But while the survey has attracted snorts and jeers from some corners — “um, guys, [milk] comes from cows — and not just the brown kind,” snarked Food & Wine — the most surprising thing about this figure may actually be that it isn’t higher.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will announce a new policy toward Cuba on Friday that prohibits any commercial dealings with Cuba’s economically powerful military and somewhat limits the freedom of U.S. citizens to travel to the island but leaves in place many changes implemented by his predecessor.
In a speech to be delivered in the heart of Miami’s Little Havana, where an older generation of Cuban Americans has long objected to normalization of relations with the communist government of President Raul Castro, Trump will declare an end to the Obama administration’s policy of “appeasement,” a senior White House official said.
WASHINGTON — For years, Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting member of Congress, has complained that the discourse on Capitol Hill is in the toilet. This time, she’s right.
The nonwoven fabrics industry is lobbying Congress to reverse a D.C. law that regulates wet wipes — the moist, disposable towelettes that have found an emerging market among adults for whom toilet tissue won’t do.
The law says wet wipes are Kryptonite to the city’s sewer system, wrapping and tangling themselves around pumps and screens and clumping together to form monster clogs that disrupt service and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to clear.
A noose was found hanging from a tree in Montgomery County on Thursday, police said.
Around 9:10 a.m., officers responded to the Heron’s Cove Condominium neighborhood in the 18900 block of Mills Choice Road in Montgomery Village for the report of the noose, Montgomery County police said in a statement.
A heightened sense of unease gripped the White House on Thursday, as President Donald Trump lashed out at reports he’s under scrutiny for obstructing justice, aides repeatedly deflected questions about the probe and Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged hiring a private lawyer to handle fallout from investigations into Russian election meddling.
Pence’s decision to hire Richard Cullen, a Richmond-based lawyer who previously served as a U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, came less than a month after Trump hired his own private lawyer.
After the Navy suspended the massive ocean search for her brother, who was thought to be lost at sea, Amy James said she still believed Petty Officer 3rd Class Peter Mims was still alive.
“I just can’t believe he’s gone,” James told CBS affiliate WJAX. “Is this real? Is this a nightmare?”
She added: “He’s still alive, he’s got to be fighting for his life.”
The USS Shiloh had reported Mims missing and presumed overboard just days earlier, on June 8.
WASHINGTON – Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, as part of the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to officials familiar with the matter.
FBI agents and federal prosecutors have also been examining the financial dealings of other Trump associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Carter Page, who was listed as a foreign policy adviser for the campaign.
The Commerce Department has removed language from its annual equal opportunity statement barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, prompting a protest from lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists.
The 2017 Secretarial Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity, which was emailed to department employees Thursday morning, says that Commerce “does not tolerate behavior, harassment, discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability.”
WYOMING, Ohio — Wearing the jacket his son Otto Warmbier wore at the sham trial that ended with his imprisonment in North Korea, Fred Warmbier denounced the “pariah” regime that had brutalized his son, and fought back tears Thursday as he remembered kneeling to hug him when he was returned to the United States in a coma.
“The fact that he was taken and treated this way is horrible,” Fred Warmbier said. “They’re brutal and they’re terroristic. We see the results of their actions, with Otto.”
Otto Warmbier is in stable condition but has suffered a severe neurological injury, Kelly Martin of the University of Cincinnati Medical Center told reporters at the news conference Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin joked that he’s willing to offer former U.S. FBI Director James Comey asylum, comparing him to Edward Snowden, the ex-National Security Agency contractor who took refuge in Russia after being accused in the U.S. of leaking classified information.
Comey’s decision to release records of his conversation with U.S. President Donald Trump to the media is “very strange,” Putin said during his annual call-in show Thursday, in a response to a question from a factory executive from the southern city of Volgograd on the ex-head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
HOPE, Maine — Despite her drowning a rabid raccoon, Rachel Borch could not have predicted her story would spark a media frenzy.
Borch, 21, made famous virtually overnight after the Bangor Daily News published an article Wednesday about her heroic face-off with a rabid forest animal that she eventually drowned in a puddle in an act of dire self-defense, has become somewhat of a sensation.
TOWNSHIP 2, RANGE 8 ― Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said Thursday that he might recommend that Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument be upgraded to a national park.
Asked on the second day of his fact-finding tour of northern Maine if he might advise Congress to transform the monument into the state’s second national park, Zinke replied, “Certainly.”
“The executive [branch of the federal government] does not have the authority” to create a national park, “so the driver would have to be from Congress,” Zinke said at a breakfast with Katahdin area political and business leaders at River Driver’s Restaurant & Pub.
PORTLAND, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage said he may start carrying a gun in response to the Wednesday shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, that left five people wounded including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana.
“I’m thinking of carrying, yes,” LePage said when asked whether he felt the need to protect himself after the incident.
LePage cast the shooting, which also left a congressional aide, a lobbyist and two Capitol Police officers wounded and the lone gunman dead, as part of escalating national and global tensions that go beyond politics.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Negotiations on Maine’s two-year state budget stalled on Thursday when the Legislature’s top Democrat blasted Republicans aligned with Gov. Paul LePage for holding out as lawmakers breezed by their deadline for an agreement.
House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, angrily said during a Thursday afternoon meeting of the special six-person panel convened to close the budget amid a long impasse over education funding that it has done “no real work” this week. She blamed House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport.
Her son wouldn’t be alive today if one of the other three men — all presumed dead — whose boat capsized on Square Lake Tuesday had not untangled his leg from the anchor rope, Stephanie Kelley said Thursday.
“Someone saved my boy and I have no way to thank him,” an emotional Kelley said during a telephone interview from her Caribou home Thursday afternoon.
Her son, Charles Guimond, 23, is the only one of the four boaters, all from Fort Fairfield, found alive after he clung for hours to the overturned boat before it drifted to shore where he was spotted by a Maine Warden Service plane at about 5 a.m. Wednesday.
Fragments of the bullet accidentally fired at Maine Criminal Justice Academy Cadet Matthew Morrison on Monday are still in his leg.
“It fractured my femur,” said Morrison, 33, of Mars Hill, who on Wednesday was still hospitalized at Maine Medical Center in Portland. “And it did a lot of nerve damage. It hit me above my knee cap, and there was no exit wound. I still have bullet fragments in my leg.”
Living and events
BANGOR, Maine — A soap opera on CBS has a decidedly Maine touch these days. Three Mainers are now part of the cast of the long-running show “The Young and the Restless.”
Lexie Stevenson and Max Shippee recently joined veteran Melissa Ordway from Portland on “The Young and the Restless.”
Stevenson, 18, moved to Los Angeles after graduating high school to pursue an acting career she had on her eye since she was 5 years old. The Brunswick native she was surprised but comforted to join a show with other actors from Maine.
“I constantly find myself looking for pieces of Maine in California,” Stevenson said.
BANGOR, Maine — Despite owing the city nearly $120,000, the American Folk Festival has signed a new contract with Bangor, allowing the annual weekend-long event to keep returning to the waterfront.
The annual late-summer festival has drawn musicians from around the world and pumped millions of dollars into Bangor’s economy. Each year, under the new contract, the festival will receive $50,000 worth of city services each year while continuing to pay $15,000 toward its debt, which totaled $300,000 in 2010.
“What I’ve seen from the organization since 2009 is a dedication to commit themselves to be better,” City Councilor Cary Weston said before the council approved the new agreement Monday. “The organization has shown a real sincere interest in securing the fiscal health if you will and making sure the festival is available for years to come.”
“My apologies for the lack of an update last week,” Emily Burnham writes. “I was kidnapped by the dastardly creature known as Too Many Things Going On and simply could not make my deadline. Fear not, however: I’m back!”
Friday night in Bangor brings a few fun entertainment options, like the monthly Bangor contradance at the UU Church, Allison Bankston and Hippie Soup at Nocturnem Drafthaus, and rockers the Lost Woods at Paddy Murphy’s.