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National and international headlines
House Republican leaders said Wednesday that they plan to bring their controversial plan to revise key parts of the Affordable Care Act to a vote on Thursday, capping weeks of fits and starts in their attempt to fulfill a signature campaign promise.
The flagging Republican effort to reshape the nation’s health care system picked up steam Wednesday, as GOP leaders tried to address concerns about people with preexisting medical conditions. But independent analysts remained skeptical that the new proposal would fully address the needs of at-risk patients who receive coverage guarantees under the Affordable Care Act, underscoring the controversial nature of the Republican effort.
Republican leaders huddled in the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, Wednesday evening to figure out the next steps after a whirlwind day at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. Several said they would hold a vote this week only if they felt certain it could pass – meaning they now believe they have the votes.
If you’ve received an invitation to join a shared Google Doc that you weren’t expecting, you might want to steer clear of it. It’s probably a phishing scam that could compromise your account.
Internet users everywhere are being spammed with what appear to be malicious invitations to log on to their Google accounts. Unlike your garden-variety cyberattack, many of the telltale signs that could tip you off that something is awry are absent.
Buckingham Palace announced Thursday that Prince Philip, the 95-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II, will retire from public life starting in the fall.
“Prince Philip will attend previously scheduled engagements between now and August, both individually and accompanying The Queen,” a Buckingham Palace news release issued following a night of frenzied speculation prompted by emergency meetings by palace staff said.“Thereafter, the Duke will not be accepting new invitations for visits and engagements, although he may still choose to attend certain public events from time to time,” it continued.
The announcement said that the prince, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, had “the full support of The Queen.”
It added that Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, who turned 91 last month, “will continue to carry out a full program of official engagements.”
The videos on DaddyOFive’s YouTube channel were hard to watch. In one, parents Heather and Mike Martin scream at 9-year-old Cody, accusing him of spilling ink on the ground. (He didn’t spill anything, and the stains on the carpet were from trick ink). Another shows Cody being shoved into a bookcase. In a third, the dad encourages one of his sons to slap 11-year-old Emma, the only girl among the five children in the family. He does, hard enough to make Emma cry.
When the broader YouTube community found out about the channel, there was an angry uprising. And now, the once-estranged birth mother of Cody and Emma has emergency custody of her two kids.
“Emma and Cody are with me,” said a visibly nervous Rose Hall in a YouTube video posted on Monday to her lawyer’s channel. “They’re doing good,” she said. “They’re getting back to their playful selves.”
Gov. Paul LePage wants to force communities to charge people who repeatedly overdose and are given an opioid antidote — and penalize cities, towns and counties that don’t pursue the money.
LePage submitted a governor’s bill, LD 1558, on Tuesday that requires municipalities and counties to recover the cost of naloxone hydrochloride from repeat users, and it comes with a $1,000 fine per incident for communities that don’t.
Bangor area doctors and advocates said the bill would make it harder to stop the state’s drug epidemic — which last year killed more than one person a day.
A Massachusetts company focused on making liquid fuel, chemicals and other advanced materials from wood intends to build its first major project in a new industrial complex planned for the former Old Town Fuel and Fiber.
The Framingham, Massachusetts-based Biofine Technology has plans for its first large-scale project in Old Town, where on Wednesday it held a public demonstration of its pilot project to break down wood into intermediate chemicals that can be made into other things.
A compromise spending bill presented Monday by the U.S. House Appropriations Committee could increase visas for temporary foreign workers allowed in the country by up to 70,000, potentially alleviating what many tourism industry employers in Maine say is a widespread shortage of seasonal employees.
Congress might approve allowing between 60,000 and 70,000 more H-2B workers into the U.S. during the remainder of the 2017 federal fiscal year, which ends in September, in addition to the 66,000 visa cap, the limit for which was reached in March.
An exemption that counted returning workers in a separate pool, in place in years past, was not renewed for 2017, which meant returning workers had to compete on a first-come, first-serve basis with new visa seekers. While that exemption would not be reinstated with the proposed bill, which could be approved by Congress this week, the proposal would allow those returning workers to apply for visas, Jim Hewins, president of the Maine Restaurant and Innkeepers Association said Wednesday.
But even with congressional approval, and if the U.S. Department of Labor expedites the visa-approval process, getting needed H-2B employees in place for the summer likely is not feasible, according to one hotel industry executive.
An iconic Ellsworth eatery is closing its doors for the season less than a month after opening its doors for 2017, leaving uncertainty about its future after 36 years in operation.
The owners of Jordan’s Snack Bar published an advertisement in this week’s Ellsworth American announcing the closure and thanking customers for their support, according to the paper.
The Route 1 business, a popular summer stop for tourists and locals alike, closed in mid April “for an undetermined period” after a death in the family, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook account. It had its opening day on March 22.
As more than 90 breweries have piled into Maine’s growing craft beer scene, Maine-based brewers are slowly but surely racking up an increasing share of the in-state beer market.
Maine brewers have steadily increased their share of total beer sales since 2012, accounting for about 12.1 percent of all beer sold in Maine last year, according to state data. That’s up from 8.6 percent in 2012.
However, giant Anheuser Busch InBev still made up about half of beer sold in Maine last year. That share was down from 53 percent in 2012.
Maine’s growth is in line with national trends, where craft beer’s market share doubled to about 12 percent in 2016, up from around 6 percent in 2012, according to the Brewers Association, a national craft beer trade group.
Gov. Paul LePage tried to play dealmaker on the Republican Party’s latest health care reform efforts during his latest trip to Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday, he appeared on Fox News to amplify concerns about protections for people with pre-existing conditions that threaten to sink the latest attempt to replace Obamacare within the Republican caucus.
LePage met with key lawmakers on Monday and Tuesday in the conservative House Freedom Caucus: Rep. Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, the chairman, and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who founded the group.
Living and events
About seven years ago, Southwest Harbor resident Ruth Grierson took a life-changing trip to Newfoundland, Canada, with her daughter, Heather.
After admiring the dramatic landscape of the island, they went to the town of Rocky Harbour to a kitchen party — a traditional social gathering in the Maritime provinces usually held in someone’s house with wild, joyous music, dancing and carousing late into the night.
Grierson, a longtime musician, dared to ask the musicians gathered at the party if she could sit in with them and play her fiddle. As a classically trained violinist, she was a bit out of her element in the largely Celtic-influenced Newfoundland music scene, but they let her play all the same.
“They said, ‘Sure, you can play one song. One song.’ But once I played they realized ‘Oh, wow, she’s not kidding.’ I’ve been back [to Newfoundland] every year ever since. They call me the ancient fiddler,” said Grierson, with a chuckle. “That’s what really got me hooked.”
The “Ancient Fiddler” is an affectionate nickname for Grierson, who at 89-years-old maintains the playing schedule of a musician half her age.
Citing slumping sales in a digital age, a religious book and music store will close its doors at the end of the month after 25 years in business.
Lamb’s Book and Bible, which opened in 1992 on Harlow Street and later moved to the mall area, has seen declining sales for a few years, according to owner Royce Cross. Lamb’s also sells gifts and religious-themed merchandise.
“Books and CDs have been our primary sellers but people are no longer buying as many as they once did,” he said. “Electronics are everywhere.”
— George Danby (@Danbyink) May 4, 2017