Trump endorses Senate bill to slash by half legal immigration into the US

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National and international

Trump endorses Senate bill to slash by half legal immigration into the US

President Donald Trump speaks during an announcement on immigration reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Aug. 2, 2017.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed a new bill in the Senate aimed at slashing legal immigration levels in half over a decade, a potentially profound change to policies that have been in place for more than half a century.

Trump appeared with Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia at the White House to unveil a modified version of a bill the senators first introduced in February to create a “merit-based” immigration system that would put a greater emphasis on the job skills of foreigners over their ties to family in the United States.

The legislation seeks to reduce the annual distribution of green cards awarding permanent legal residence from more than 1 million to just over 500,000. Trump promised on the campaign trail to take a harder line on immigration, arguing that the growth in new arrivals had harmed job opportunities for American workers.

“Among those who have been hit hardest in recent years are immigrants and minority workers competing for jobs against brand-new arrivals,” Trump said while flanked by the senators in the Roosevelt Room. “It has not been fair to our people, our citizens and our workers.”

Man asked passengers to stop smoking weed on train. They viciously attacked him.

On Sunday night, a 44-year-old man riding on a Dallas Area Rapid Transit train was beaten by a group of other passengers after he said he asked them to stop smoking marijuana.

The video of the attack has now gone viral.

“When they started smoking, I’m like, ‘Come on, man. We’re on a train. Can y’all just wait? Just wait,” Kennan Jones told NBC5,

Then a young woman spat in his face, Jones said.

In the video, posted on Facebook by another passenger, a group of five to seven people are showing kicking, punching and slapping Jones. One woman yelled “get him” as he tried to deflect the punches.

The fight eventually spilled out onto the platform. At one point, Jones got up off the ground and started walking. The group soon attacked again, at one point with a skateboard, until he was left motionless on the ground.

The group then piled back onto a train and continued their ride.

“In my mind I was like ‘just don’t pass out. God don’t let them kill me,” Jones told NBC5.

Legalizing recreational marijuana could boost crash rates, safety group warns

Steve Rusnak, owner of Full Bloom Cannabis in Fort Kent, carries several varieties of marijuana along with a selection of cannabis edibles, tinctures, salves and oils for his medical marijuana customers.
Julia Bayly | BDN

A traffic safety organization is warning that two recent studies suggest that legalizing recreational marijuana could lead to an increase in crashes, including deadly ones.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that studies by the Highway Loss Data Institute and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin point to an increase in crash risk in states that legalized the recreational use of pot.

The University of Texas study also found an increase in fatal crashes in two states that fully legalized pot. Yet, the authors of that study — which was published in the online edition of the American Journal of Public Health in June — also said that the increase was too small to be statistically significant.

Trump signs Russia sanctions bill, Moscow calls it ‘trade war’

President Donald Trump attends a “Made in America” event on pharmaceutical glass manufacturing at the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, July 20, 2017.

President Donald Trump grudgingly signed into law new sanctions against Russia on Wednesday, a move Moscow said amounted to a full-scale trade war and an end to hopes for better ties with the Trump administration.

Congress overwhelmingly approved the legislation last week, passing a measure that conflicts with the Republican president’s desire to improve relations with Moscow.

Trump signed the bill behind closed doors, without the fanfare that has customarily accompanied his signing of executive orders. He criticized the measure as infringing on his powers to shape foreign policy, and said he could make “far better deals” with governments than Congress can.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the sanctions tantamount to a “full-scale trade war,” adding in a Facebook post that they showed the Trump administration had demonstrated “utter powerlessness.”

Afghan suicide bomber kills two US soldiers in NATO convoy

A suicide bomb attack killed two American troops in Afghanistan on Wednesday as they were traveling in a convoy near the airport in the southern city of Kandahar, the U.S. military said, in a strike claimed by the Taliban insurgency.

The attack was a reminder of the dangers posed to the 8,400 U.S. forces in Afghanistan as President Donald Trump weighs sending thousands more troops to America’s longest war.


Stephen King’s ‘Pet Sematary’ house for sale

The house at 664 River Road in Orrington, where Stephen King wrote “Pet Sematary,” is up for sale.
Ashley L. Conti | BDN

For $226,000 the house that inspired internationally known horror writer Stephen King to write “Pet Sematary” can be yours.

The Orrington house on the River Road is where King came up with the idea for his novel about bringing the dead back to life.

King told the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday that he doesn’t remember the house number of the rental but recognized its picture in the real estate listing. The house has been featured in several news stories, books, blogs and even an A&E biography on Bangor’s most famous writer.

Two topless women want you to picture them when you cook lobsters

Bianca Giron, left, and Mary Ann Persad pose topless as cooked lobsters in Rockland near the entrance of the 70th annual Lobster Festival. Giron and Persad are volunteers with PETA protesting the boiling alive of lobsters.
Alex Acquisto | BDN

Two 20-something female volunteers stood topless, wilted and all red, their eyes closed, their arms and rubber lobster claw gloves hanging over the sides of a fake lobster pot — like cooked lobsters who had just been boiled to death.

The front of the cloth pot, which had fake flames around the bottom, read, “Put yourself in their place.”

Twenty-year-old Bangor native Bianca Giron and Mary Ann Persad, 25, of Brooklyn, New York, were volunteers through the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) organization to oppose the boiling alive of millions of crustaceans every year. They had positioned themselves on the corner of Main and Park streets, near the entrance of the 70th annual Rockland Lobster Festival, which runs from Aug. 2 through Aug. 6.

Man screams that Portland deli workers will ‘burn in hell,’ charged with hate crime

Police have charged a local man with a hate crime for making derogatory comments about the sexuality of workers at downtown deli.

On Saturday, Portland police arrested Jesse James Taylor, 37, after employees of Sisters Gourmet Deli reported that he was yelling and knocking things off the counters of the Monument Square restaurant, according to a Wednesday statement from the city and police department.

Bucking LePage veto, lawmakers raise Maine’s minimum age to buy tobacco

Maine will become the fourth state to make 21 the legal age to buy tobacco products after the Legislature overrode Gov. Paul LePage’s veto during a long Wednesday session.

Lawmakers adjourned for the year after overriding 13 of 27 lingering vetoes from the Republican governor, ending a session that gave Maine its first government shutdown since 1991. That fight over the two-year budget stretched legislative business six weeks past a scheduled end date.

A majority of LePage’s final vetoes were upheld on Wednesday, with largely loyal House Republicans backing him to kill bills that would have banned handheld cellphone use while driving and directed regulators to draft a long-term solar energy policy.

Living and events

Impact of ‘Othello,’ ‘Red Velvet’ at Monmouth searing, long lasting

Wendell Clark as Othello (center) regales his troops with stories of a victory in the Theatre at Monmouth’s production of Shakespeare’s “Othello.”
Aaron Flacke | Theatre at Monmouth

Passion elevates the casts of “Othello” and “Red Velvet” — both stories of black men with a modicum of power and privilege in white society — to emotional heights that nearly drown theatergoers. There is an energy consistently coming off the Cumston Hall stage this year that has been absent in previous seasons. Magic is the only word to describe what’s happening.

Judith Jones, cookbook editor who brought Julia Child and others to the table, dies at 93

Judith Jones, the legendary editor who rescued “The Diary of Anne Frank” from a publisher’s reject pile and later introduced readers to the likes of Julia Child and a host of other influential cookbook authors, died Aug. 2 at her summer home in Walden, Vermont. She was 93.

The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said her step-daughter Bronwyn Dunne.

Jones helped open a world of cuisines to a public previously bound by convenience foods, and her impact on cookbook publishing, home cooking and the American palate was monumental.

Navigating Life As A Muslim Girl in Maine

Featuring photography by Catherine Frost, this exhibition showcases photographs of 30 Muslim young women from Deering and Lewiston High Schools.

Each of these young women has engaged with the Justice for Women program, an organization formed in collaboration with Catherine Lee of Lee International and the University of Southern Maine School of Law with the stated mission, “To promote global conversation about justice that inspires people to transform the lives of women and girls in both Maine and the developing world.”

The exhibit is on display from July 28 to Aug. 16 at Maine College of Art, Zand Head an Friedman Galleries, Congress Street, in Portland.

Ghost Hunters at Blue Hill Public Library

Children aged 8 and above are invited to join author Liza Gardner Walsh at the Blue Hill Public Library at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4, when she discusses her recent book, “Ghost Hunter’s Handbook.”

Kids will learn some tips about how to be a good ghost hunter, and how to tell a spooky ghost story. They will also investigate the library for any possible hauntings.

Participants will take home instructions to make their very own electroscopes to help them on their supernatural pursuits.

Coast Guard cutter Eagle to visit Portland

“America’s Tall Ship” — Eagle
U.S. Coast Guard

Coast Guard cutter Eagle, “America’s Tall Ship,” is scheduled to visit Portland Aug. 4-7.

The 295-foot Barque Eagle is set to dock around 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 4, downtown at Portland Ocean Terminal and will be giving free tours 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 5 and 6.

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.

World of spiders

Take a one hour trip into the world of spiders with guide, Donne Sinderson, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 5, at Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in Old Town.

Donne, an amateur arachnologist and Maine Master Naturalist, will introduce attendees to different types of spiders and how their survival strategies. Then, attendees will head out to look for spiders in the field and forest.

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.

Hiroshima ‘Die in’ planned for Bangor on Aug. 6

A Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will be held noon Sunday, Aug. 6, at West Market Square in Bangor.

American singer/songwriter David Mallett to perform at Triangle Park in Calais

David Mallett

The cool breezes of Maine’s northlands have flowed through the songs of David Mallett for more than four decades. His latest, “Greenin Up,” is a compilation of some re-recordings of his finest work. “Greenin’ Up” is the culmination of a musical career that began when Mallett was 11 years old, playing in a country and folk duo.

Join us for a remarkable evening of entertainment and to enjoy the talents of singer/songwriter David Mallett from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Aug. 10 at Triangle Park in Calais. This concert is brought to you by The St. Croix Valley Chamber of Commerce and is generously sponsored by Washington County Community College and WQDY, Calais.

The concert is free and open to the public. This event helps kick off the 2017 International Homecoming Festival.

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.

Brunswick Outdoor Arts Festival

Brunswick Downtown Association

The Brunswick Downtown Association will host the 11th annual Brunswick Outdoor Arts Festival 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 19.

Works from more than 100 artists will be displayed along the sidewalks of Maine Street and the Town Mall. This juried, fine arts and crafts exhibit represents a variety of mediums including painting, sculpture, mixed media, graphics and drawing, photography, and fine crafts.

Partial solar eclipse, night hike and picnic on John B. Mountain

Come join us for a hike up John B. Mountain in Brooksville and bring your picnic supper — we have entertainment of stellar quality!

Starting at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 21, we will experience a partial solar eclipse positioned in the beautifully picturesque direction over Cape Rosier and Penobscot Bay.

Plan on at least a 10 minute hike to the top. The maximum eclipse will occur at 6:47 p.m. and the sun will set by 7:31 p.m.

40th annual Northeast Harbor Road Race and Family Fun Walk

The 40th Annual Northeast Harbor Road Race to benefit the Northeast Harbor Ambulance Service will be held 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Great Harbor Museum on Main Street in Northeast Harbor.

The first 75 entrants will receive T-shirts. Registration is $30 until Aug. 12.

Midcoast Tour de Farms

Carol Gardner

Enjoy an early fall bike ride while supporting local farmers and producers. Ride 56, 42 or 17 miles through the Midcoast countryside, stopping at farms along the way to sample and purchase their products.

The ride is 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at The Morris Farm, 156 Gardiner Road, Wiscasset.


Solar bill falls to LePage veto, leaving policy in regulators’ hands

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

The Maine House of Representatives narrowly sustained Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill that would have placed solar power incentives into state law while regulators study a replacement.

The bill also would have raised the cap on solar plants with shared ownership, or community solar, allowing 100 utility customers to share the net metering benefits, up from the current cap of 10.

Maine’s Senate voted to override the veto 28-6. The House voted 88-48, with 14 members absent, falling three votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to enact the law over LePage’s objections.

Belfast salmon smoker planning $5 million expansion to meet boosted demand

Ducktrap River of Maine, which makes smoked salmon and other fish products at its Belfast facility, is expanding after purchasing a vacant building next door.
Nick McCrea | BDN

A local company that makes smoked salmon and other seafood products is taking over a shuttered building next door to meet increased national demand for its products.

Ducktrap River of Maine, based in the city’s business park, has purchased a former apparel manufacturing facility across the street, and plans to spend $5 million converting it to produce cold-smoked salmon, according to Don Cynewski.

“At this point, we’re at capacity in our current building,” Cynewski told the Belfast City Council as he filled members in on the plans during a meeting Tuesday night. “The smoked salmon business nationwide is increasing.”

Struggling Under Armour to cut nearly 300 jobs in restructuring plan

An Under Armour logo is seen on a running shoe on display at an store in Chicago, Oct. 25, 2016.
Jim Young | REUTERS

In the wake of a second consecutive quarterly loss, albeit one that was smaller than originally forecast, struggling athletic apparel company Under Armour announced Tuesday that it is laying off 2 percent of its 15,000 employees worldwide, or about 280 people, as part of a restructuring plan.


The North Woods monument land played a pivotal role in the history of conservation

George Danby | BDN

Roosevelt is rightly seen as a father of conservation in American history. During his presidency, he advocated tirelessly for the conservation of America’s most beautiful and historically important places. He used the Antiquities Act and his other presidential authority to protect approximately 230 million acres of public land. President Roosevelt created 18 national monuments, 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, four national game preserves and five national parks. Roosevelt’s recognition of the importance of unspoiled wilderness began on the very land now recognized as Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.

After six years of LePage, Maine’s public health failures should come as little surprise


Maine has only had these loose coalitions for the past decade. Now, over the course of two years, the LePage administration has eliminated all of their direct state funding.

Because of these cutbacks, it should surprise no one that Maine is failing to combat the opioid epidemic that’s claiming more than a life per day. It should surprise no one that the portion of Maine’s non-elderly population without health insurance now exceeds the national average. It should surprise no one that Maine posted the largest, one-year decline of any state in the United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings report released last year.

And it should surprise no one the next time Maine proves it’s unprepared to handle the next infectious disease outbreak.

John Kelly is President Trump’s cry for help

John Kelly sits after he was sworn in as White House Chief of Staff in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, July 31, 2017.

I still hold some dim hope that things could change. Maybe there is something about John Kelly’s gravitas that will compel Trump to behave like a president should.

The anti-Trumpers say nothing about how this president can change, but just hear me out.

Perhaps the appointment of the former four-star Marine Corps general as the White House chief of staff is Trump’s cry for help.