Mormon university instructor fired after Facebook post supporting LGBT rights, she says

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National and international

Mormon university instructor fired after Facebook post supporting LGBT rights, she says

Ruthie Robertson, 22, was an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

Ruthie Robertson, 22, knew her private Facebook post would be controversial among her Mormon friends. After all, as a “huge leftist living in a completely red state,” Robertson was used to criticism about her outspoken views on feminism and politics.

She knew the post contradicted the views of her employer, Brigham Young University-Idaho, a private college affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But Robertson, an adjunct professor of international politics, never expected to be fired because of it, she said in an interview with The Washington Post.

“This is my official announcement and declaration that I believe heterosexuality and homosexuality are both natural and neither is sinful,” Robertson wrote in her lengthy post on June 5, in honor of Pride month. “I will never support the phrase ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ because that ‘sin’ is part of who that person is. Homosexuality and transgenderism are not sins; if God made us, and those are part of who we are … then God created that as well.”

Your dog’s ancestor came from a group of wolves 40,000 years ago

A newly adopted puppy waits in line to go home at the Bangor Humane Society in Bangor recently.
Ashley L. Conti | BDN

We know quite a bit about dog biology. We know that, though a chihuahua and a chow chow are dramatically different in size and shape, dogs share all but 0.15 percent of their genome. We know that a dog’s sense of smell is so refined it can sniff the passage of time. We know that dogs were not always dogs.

When humans tamed wolves, dogs became the first domesticated animal. Dogs are, if not our best friends, at least our oldest companions. But we don’t know the full history of dogs. Not clearly.

Hillary Clinton is less popular than Trump because nobody will let the election end

Former U.S. Secretary of State and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton attends the unveiling ceremony for the U.S. Postal Service Oscar de la Renta Forever stamp, at Grand Central Terminal on Feb. 16, 2017 in New York.
Anthony Behar | TNS

Most of the time, the candidates who lose presidential elections collect a consolation prize: grudging public respect. With the campaigns over, with the negative ads bundled up for a museum, the defeated candidates slowly edge back into public life. They teach college classes. They appear in Viagra ads. They star in Netflix documentaries. Within six months or so, people ask themselves: “Hey, why couldn’t this loser have shown this side of himself last year? I’d have voted for him!”

Enter: Hillary Clinton, the first modern candidate to break this rule. According to Bloomberg’s new polling, just 39 percent of Americans view Clinton favorably. One month ago, Gallup found 41 percent of Americans viewing her favorably.

“Seven months after her loss, Clinton’s image remains near its record low since 1992 — even though prior losing candidates’ images improved after their defeats,” Gallup marveled.

Why is this happening? Simple. Many people, including the president of the United States, refuse to let the 2016 election end.

Eighth person in Trump Tower meeting is identified

Donald Trump Jr. looks out during the second round of the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at Trump National Golf Club-New Jersey.
Kyle Terada | USA Today Sports

An American-based employee of a Russian real estate company took part in a June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between a Russian lawyer and Donald Trump Jr., bringing to eight the number of known participants at the session that has emerged as a key focus of the investigation of the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russians.

Ike Kaveladze’s presence was confirmed by Scott Balber, an attorney for Emin and Aras Agalarov, the Russian developers who hosted the Trump-owned Miss Universe pageant in 2013. Balber said Kaveladze works for the Agalarovs’ company and attended as their representative.

Trump had undisclosed hour-long meeting with Putin at G20 Summit

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (left) and President Donald Trump talk during a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Klimentyev Mikhail | TASS | ABACA PRESS | | TNS

After his much-publicized, two-and a quarter-hour meeting early this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Group of 20 summit in Germany, President Donald Trump met informally with the Russian leader for an additional hour later the same day.

The second meeting, unreported at the time, took place at a dinner for G20 leaders, a senior administration official said. Halfway through the meal, Trump left his own seat to occupy a chair next to Putin. Trump was alone, and Putin was attended only by his official interpreter.

The encounter underscores the extent to which Trump was eager throughout the summit to cultivate a friendship with Putin. During last year’s campaign, Trump spoke admiringly of Putin and at times seemed captivated by him.

Trump suggests Republicans will let Obamacare market collapse, then rewrite health law

President Donald Trump speaks during a “Made in America” products showcase event at the White House in Washington, July 17, 2017.

President Donald Trump predicted Tuesday morning that Republicans may wait for the federal insurance market to collapse and then work to broker a deal to rewrite the nation’s landmark health care law.

In a series of tweets, Trump blamed the demise of a months-long effort to rewrite the Affordable Care Act on Democrats “and a few Republicans,” but he suggested that the drive to overhaul the law was not completely over.

“We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!” he tweeted. He added in a separate tweet: “As I have always said, let ObamaCare fail and then come together and do a great healthcare plan. Stay tuned!”

Trump’s latest comments appeared likely to intensify the current political uncertainty on Capitol Hill, where GOP leaders were debating what to do next, as well as raise anxiety among insurers that must commit to staying on the federal health exchange within a matter of weeks.


Collins vows public will play major role in creation of new Senate health care plan

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, leaves a meeting of the Senate Republican caucus for the unveiling of Senate Republicans’ revamped proposal to replace Obamacare health care legislation at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, July 13, 2017.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday that despite Senate Republicans’ failure to advance replacement of the Affordable Care Act, the path toward a better health care plan has clarified.

Collins said moving development of the bill from “behind closed doors” to the public process — through a Senate committee Collins is a member of — is a change of course she welcomes.

“It’s much better to have public hearings and to hear from witnesses,” said Collins, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is where the hearings will begin. “I’ll be playing a major role in that process.”

Police used tear gas in 22-hour Lincoln standoff that ended when suspect surrendered

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN

22-hour armed standoff with police ended Tuesday with the surrender of a local man wanted for the alleged sexual assault of two teenagers, police said Tuesday.

William Bradbury, 56, of Lincoln, barricaded himself in a house on Mohawk Road with a 9mm handgun after Lincoln police Sgt. John Walsh and Detective Mark Fucile arrived at 11 a.m. Monday to interview him and to serve a protective order, said Dan Summers, Lincoln’s public safety director.

“The scene quickly soured,” Summers said.

Alfond Foundation offers $7.5 million boost for Maine graduate center

Former gubernatorial candidate, Eliot Cutler (left) and University of Maine System Chancellor James Page.
Gabor Degre | BDN

The Harold Alfond Foundation has offered another $7.5 million toward the University of Maine System’s push to merge its graduate business programs and law school.

It would be the largest private gift to a project involving multiple campuses in the system’s history.

Prescription opioids the top contraband item intercepted at Maine jails, report finds

A Cornith man takes a dose of Suboxone, May 1, 2015. A recent investigation by Portland-based CBS affiliate WGME has found that Suboxone is the top contraband item that officials intercept in Maine jails.
Ashley L. Conti | BDN

The Maine Department of Corrections has intercepted more Suboxone sublingual film — thin strips of a prescription drug that are easy to hide and can be dissolved on the tongue — than any other contraband smuggled into Maine jails.

Living and events

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

Chris Pratt as Josh Faraday holds a gun in one hand and a tobacco product in the other in the PG-13 movie “The Magnificent Seven.”
Sam Emerson | Columbia Pictures | TNS

Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

If that were to happen, as many as 5.6 million kids who are alive today would be spared a tobacco habit that will ultimately lead to their death, according to the authors of a report published this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Film: ‘Something Good Will Come of This: A Maine Man’s Journey through the Opiate Epidemic

College of the Atlantic senior Ursa Beckford will host a screening of his film, “Something Good Will Come of This: A Maine Man’s Journey through the Opiate Epidemic,” at the Blue Hill Public Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, Ursa Beckford, and the subject of the film, Mike Bills.

Red Cross and Old Town Fire Rescue partner to install free smoke alarms

The American Red Cross of Maine and the Old Town Fire Rescue Department are teaming up to install free smoke alarms in residents’ homes and teach people how to be prepared for home fires.

Old Town residents can sign up for the free smoke alarm installation by calling Ron Springel of the Red Cross at 874-1192, ext. 113. The Red Cross, the Old Town Fire Rescue Department and community volunteers will follow-up with the installation on July 22.

“Working smoke alarms are key to escaping a home fire safely. That early warning, along with a practiced escape plan to a designated meeting area and early notification to emergency services can greatly reduce death and injuries,” Capt. David Daniels of the Old Town Fire Rescue Department said.

Volunteers needed for 70th Maine Lobster Festival

The Maine Lobster Festival is looking for volunteers to help with this year’s festival to be held Aug. 2-6. It takes more than 1,300 volunteers to run the festival each year.

Volunteer jobs include everything from setting up and taking down tents, to taking tickets, or cooking the lobsters served to guests. Volunteers will receive an exclusive “volunteer” shirt and free admission the day you volunteer.

If you wish to sign up, fill out an Online Volunteer Form from our website,, or print a paper volunteer form and mail it in. Be specific about which job you’d like to sign up for. If you have any questions, email

Appalachian Trail Conservancy 2017 Maine Conference coming to Waterville

Appalachian Trail Conservancy

Waterville will host the 2017 Appalachian Trail Conservancy Conference. It will be held at Colby College Aug. 4-11.

The week-long event features over 240 hikes, numerous workshops, and excursions to local areas of interest.

Each evening there are exciting adventure presentations and stellar entertainment.

Maine Huts & Trails backwoods duathlon with Baxter Outdoors

Baxter Outdoors and Maine Huts & Trails are bringing back the Maine Huts & Trails Backwoods Duathlon 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Aug. 5. This 25 K mountain bike/trail run can be tackled either solo or as a team.

Solar energy open house and farmers market

Vivint Solar technicians install solar panels on the roof of a house in Mission Viejo, California, Oct. 25, 2013.
Mario Anzuoni | REUTERS

Join ReVision Energy and Full Circle Farm for a solar open house 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Aug. 5. The solar open house will take place during Full Circle Farm’s regularly scheduled farmers market.

Guests can stop by to learn how Full Circle Farm is locking into long-term energy savings and lowering their carbon footprint as a local business. Guests can also pick-up their favorite locally-sourced foods during the visit to Full Circle Farm.

Schooner Fare to kick off Paris Hill Music Festival

The Paris Hill Music Festival will kick off with Schooner Fare at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 10, at First Baptist Church of Paris, 500 Paris Hill Road, South Paris. Tickets are $25 and available at Paris Hill Country Club and Bolster’s Decorating in Market Square and Books-n-Things in Norway or by calling 743-9390.


Americans’ retirement benefits slashed by a quarter

New research from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that small- to medium-sized businesses — those with five to 250 employees — are least likely to offer retirement-savings plans.
Dreamstime | TNS

Americans are more worried about retirement, and they’re getting less help saving for it.

Employers cut their contributions to workers’ retirements by a quarter from 2001 to 2015, according to a new report by the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson. The biggest driver: the decline of traditional defined-benefit pensions, replaced by stingier, 401(k)-style, defined-contribution plans.

Report: Bangor art, cultural nonprofits generate millions in economic activity

Rock of Ages was the final Penobscot Theatre Company show of the 2015-2016 season.
Magnus Stark

Bangor’s nonprofit art and cultural organizations in 2015 generated $10 million in economic activity and created hundreds of full-time jobs, according to a study from a Washington D.C. lobbyist group.

The study, completed by the organization Americans for the Arts, found that 14 nonprofits in Bangor, including the Penobscot Theatre Company, the American Folk Festival, the Maine Discovery Museum, the University of Maine Museum of Art, and the Bangor Historical Society, spent $3.4 million in fiscal 2015, and audiences at their events spent $6.6 million.

Those organizations also support 312 full-time equivalent jobs, generating $6.2 million in household incomes to local residents, according to the report. Americans for the Arts lobbies for arts funding and education. The report is based on surveys of people who attended events hosted by those nonprofits.

The White House just endorsed the FCC’s effort to roll back its net neutrality rules

Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, testifies before a Senate Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 20, 2017.

The Trump administration has signaled that it stands behind efforts by the Federal Communications Commission and its chairman, Ajit Pai, to roll back the agency’s net neutrality regulations for internet providers.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, administration officials said that while rules can be helpful, the Obama administration “went about this the wrong way.”

“We support the FCC chair’s efforts to review and consider rolling back these rules,” said deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, “and believe that the best way to get fair rules for everyone is for Congress to take action and create regulatory and economic certainty.”


Veto override needed to avoid disastrous solar energy rules

A Maine barn fitted with a 12kw solar power generation system.
Peter Cowin

Without action from the Legislature, Maine will be stuck with rules from the Public Utilities Commission that will needlessly cost residents millions of dollars and stall solar energy generation.

That’s why it is critical that lawmakers override a veto from Gov. Paul LePage of a bill that gives the PUC until 2019 to come up with better rules compensating residents and businesses that generate more solar energy than they need and sell it to the electricity grid.

Trump says the Paris agreement is unfair to the US. The US pledges didn’t go far enough.

George Danby | BDN

Trump’s factual errors aside, there is nothing in the Paris agreement that is unfair to the United States. By any reasonable measure of fairness, U.S. pledges under the Paris agreement do not go far enough.

Trump is killing the Republican Party

President Donald Trump

I did not leave the Republican Party. The Republican Party left its senses. The political movement that once stood athwart history resisting bloated government and military adventurism has been reduced to an amalgam of talk-radio resentments. President Donald Trump’s Republicans have devolved into a party without a cause, dominated by a leader hopelessly ill-informed about the basics of conservatism, U.S. history and the Constitution.

America’s first Republican president reportedly said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” The current Republican president and the party he controls were granted monopoly power over Washington in November, and they already find themselves spectacularly failing Abraham Lincoln’s character exam.