Good morning, Maine. Here’s your morning briefing.
Expect clouds and plenty of rain. The highs will be in the mid- to upper 50s today. Check your local forecast here.
National and international headlines
A German crowd booed Ivanka Trump on Tuesday after she called her father a “a tremendous champion of supporting families,” The Washington Post reports.
Trump was taking her first crack at diplomacy abroad in her new role as assistant to the president, vowing at an economic conference in Berlin to create “positive change” for women in the United States.
“He encouraged me and enabled me to thrive,” she said on a panel with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. “I grew up in a house where there was no barrier to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and my own tenacity.”
Miriam Meckel, editor of the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, noted the audience’s response of groaning and hissing and asked Ivanka Trump whether her father is actually an “empowerer” of women.
“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media and that’s been perpetuated,” Ivanka Trump said on the panel, “but I know from personal experience, and I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women.”
The lead Democrat and Republican on the House Oversight Committee meted out a rare bipartisan rebuke of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn on Tuesday after seeing private information that confirmed the former administration official failed to disclose foreign income from Russia and Turkey, The Washington Post reports.
Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, used sharp words to chastise Flynn, who was ousted in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the former Russian ambassador.
The lawmakers said they believe Flynn neither received permission for nor fully disclosed income he earned for a speaking engagement in Russia and lobbying activities on behalf of Turkey when he applied to renew his security clearance. They reached the conclusion after viewing two classified memos and a disclosure form in a private briefing Tuesday morning.
“Personally, I see no evidence or no data to support the notion that General Flynn complied with the law,” Chaffetz told reporters after the briefing.
Said Cummings: “He was supposed to get permission, he was supposed to report it, and he didn’t. This is a major problem.”
A week after one-time National Football League star Aaron Hernandez killed himself in his prison cell, lawyers asked a Massachusetts judge to vacate his 2015 conviction for murdering an acquaintance, Reuters reports.
In addition to clearing Hernandez’s name, the legal move, at the behest of his family including his girlfriend, Shayanna Jenkins Hernandez, could help protect his estate from liability in civil lawsuits filed by the survivors of his alleged victims.
Hernandez was found dead in a cell last Wednesday where he was serving a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole for the 2013 murder of acquaintance Odin Lloyd. That is the verdict that his attorneys are now trying to have vacated.
A rare second parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence has been found — in England, according to The Washington Post.
The discovery was made by Harvard University researchers Emily Sneff and Danielle Allen, according to a university news release published in the Harvard Gazette on Friday. The pair located the rare document in a records office in Chichester, a city near the coast of southern England.
The first clue that the document existed came in 2015, when Sneff spotted an unusual listing from a catalog for the West Sussex Record Office in Chichester: “Manuscript copy, on parchment, of the Declaration in Congress of the thirteen United States of America.”
“Nobody even had an inkling that a second might exist, and so there is no reason to even look for such a thing,” Allen told CBS News.
Former President George H.W. Bush has recovered from pneumonia but will remain in a Houston-area medical center until the end of the week while he is treated for chronic bronchitis, Reuters reports.
Bush, 92, was admitted to Houston Methodist Hospital on April 14 for a cough that was later diagnosed as a mild case of pneumonia. The hospital said earlier this week that he would remain there another few days.
“While President Bush has recovered from pneumonia, he continues to deal with the effects of chronic bronchitis, which is a condition more prevalent with age,” the hospital said in a written statement.
A U.S. judge on Tuesday blocked President Donald Trump’s executive order that sought to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, dealing another legal blow to the administration’s efforts to toughen immigration enforcement, Reuters reports.
The ruling from U.S. District Judge William Orrick III in San Francisco said Trump’s Jan. 25 order targeted broad categories of federal funding for sanctuary governments and that plaintiffs challenging the order were likely to succeed in proving it unconstitutional.
Supporters of the sanctuary policy argue that enlisting police cooperation in rounding up immigrants for removal undermines communities’ trust in local police, particularly among Latinos.
The Trump administration contends that local authorities endanger public safety when they decline to hand over for deportation illegal immigrants arrested for crimes.
The Dover-Foxcroft-based Pleasant River Lumber company is expanding its Jackman sawmill in anticipation of increased demand for American lumber amid the U.S. government’s plans to levy tariffs on Canadian softwood, the BDN’s Anthony Brino reports.
In a media release Tuesday, Pleasant River Lumber said it is expanding its Moose River spruce mill in Jackman to add drying capacity this summer and hire up to 20 new workers for a second shift starting this fall.
“We have confidence with the recent tariff announcement a level playing field will exist that will allow us to invest in and expand our facilities in Maine,” said Jason Brochu, co-president of the family-owned Pleasant River Lumber.
Gov. Paul LePage is under fire for his characterization of how a new 3 percent surcharge to fund education will affect wealthy Mainers, Maine Public’s Steve Mistler reports.
LePage was challenged on his facts by by an audience member during his town hall meeting Monday in Fort Kent, his latest stop in a campaign that he hopes will convince state lawmakers to repeal the surcharge approved by voters in November.
During the town hall, LePage appeared to assert that Mainers making $200,000 or more will be hit with an income tax of over 10 percent.
In a recording provided to Maine Public Radio by a member of the audience, a man can be heard attempting to correct the governor’s accounting.
“No, that’s not correct. The 3 percent of that is only on the incremental revenue above $200,000,” he said.
LePage did not appear persuaded.
“It’s the full $200,000. It’s 10 percent for the full amount, sir,” he said.
LePage seemed to insist that those making $200,000 will have their entire earnings hit with a 10.15 percent income tax — that’s 7.15 percent for the current top rate, plus 3 percent for the new education surcharge.
But that’s not correct, according to law approved by voters in November. According to the law, the education surcharge applies only to earnings above $200,000. Every penny at or below $200,000 will be taxed at the regular top rate — 7.15 percent.
Brothers who owned and worked at a Portland grocery have been charged with running a welfare fraud out the store that may have cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, the BDN’s Jake Bleiberg reports.
Following an investigation by the FBI and other federal and state agencies, Ali Ratib Daham, 40, and Abdulkareem Daham, 21, were charged Tuesday with conspiring to defraud the United States through their operation of Ahram Halal Market on Forest Avenue. The older brother, who was the owner of the store, also was charged with trafficking in welfare vouchers, wire fraud, money laundering and theft of government funds.
The son of Burt’s Bees entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby said he will defend Maine’s new national monument when he testifies before Congress next week.
Lucas St. Clair said he welcomed the chance to tell a House Committee on Natural Resources subcommittee about the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. He will speak on May 2, as will Maine Gov. Paul LePage, who opposes the monument, committee press secretary Molly Block said.
Committee majority members believe the Obama administration stretched the meaning of the Antiquities Act of 1906 by creating or expanding 27 of the nation’s 86 national monuments or other forms of federally-managed land, Block said.
St. Clair said he doesn’t believe the president overreached, and called the consequences of the creation of Maine’s monument “incredibly positive.”
“Businesses are expanding and reinvesting in themselves,” he said. “Philanthropy dollars are coming in that have never come in before. It’s all very exciting.”
Living and events
A few years before the first Whole Foods Market opened in Austin, Texas, two recent transplants to Maine decided to open a kiosk in the Airport Mall in Bangor that specialized in healthy and natural foods. Called the Natural Living Center, the business thrived.
Bill and Barbara Geiger have grown the business considerably since opening in 1977. These days the store occupies an 8,000 square foot storefront located at 209 Longview Drive in Bangor near Target. It has been there for 13 years.
Still, while the business has grown, the basic mission of the NLC has been steadfast: to sell food, beverages and health and home goods, made with all-natural, usually organic and often fair-trade ingredients.
“Back then, they called us the fad,” Bill Geiger, 78, who with Barbara is now semi-retired, told the BDN’s Emily Burnham. “But we weren’t the fad. Processed foods were the fad. Natural foods are here to stay. … It’s pretty gratifying to see that society has progressed. We were already there back there.”
People must have some pretty weird ideas of what we do in Maine to keep busy amongst the trees. Now, thanks to Steve Harvey and NBC’s “Little Big Shots,” we’re going to have one more question to field from out-of-staters.
US Weekly posted last week about Rhys, a 6-year old from Wells, who appeared on show on April 23. Her special talent? She can make snails come out of their shells by humming.
The Maine Troop Greeters were honored to receive one of the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism — “Exemplary Service Award” in the category of Outstanding Nonprofit Volunteer Program during a presentation held Monday, April 24, at the Hall of Flags in Augusta.
The selection panel for the Maine Commission for Community Service recognized the Maine Troop Greeters for their contributions to civic and community life.
The Memoir Network is a group of writers who assist, mentor, and coach other writers. The Memoir Network will hosting a workshop at the Bangor Public Library from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 10.
The workshop will help participates create a working outline of a memoir in hopes of encouraging writers to put their stories on to paper for the world to read.
Between the State House and Cross office building, 111 Sewall St, Augusta, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 29.
The Game Loft’s major gala event of the year will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at the Belfast Shrine Club, 20 Northport Ave., Belfast. A full evening in the year 1856 awaits our guests featuring an historical menu, pre-Civil War politics, a bit of Game Loft dinner theater where our guests will help young Elizabeth Chartwell chose between Love and Freedom, a performance by the Game Loft Youth Choral group with some of the popular tunes of the time, and a period dance called by Chrissy Fowler and featuring music by Sassafras Stomp.
Argan, a terrible hypochondriac, is always seeking medical advice from any doctor or pharmacist, real or quack, that he can find. His bills are mounting and he has come up with a ridiculously tangled plan in an effort to solve his problems.
With a scheming wife, a saucy maid, mistaken identities, and faked deaths the hilarity is non-stop! You’re not going to want to miss Moliere’s “The Imaginary Invalid,” directed by Irene Dennis.
You can see a performance at the Historic Bangor Grange Hall, 1192 Ohio St., Bangor.