Good morning, Maine. Here is your morning briefing.
The highs will be in the low 70s, with plenty of sun. Check your local forecast here.
National and international headlines
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he would nominate Christopher A. Wray — a white collar criminal defense attorney who led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division during the George W. Bush administration — to serve as the next FBI director.
Trump posted the announcement on Twitter, declaring Wray a “man of impeccable credentials” and saying more details would follow. His appointment would still have to be confirmed by the Senate, which is sure to scrutinize Trump’s nominee intensely.
Wray, now a partner at King & Spalding, led the Justice Department’s Criminal Division from 2003 to 2005, and his firm biography says that he “helped lead the Department’s efforts to address the wave of corporate fraud scandals and restore integrity to U.S. financial markets.” He oversaw the president’s corporate fraud task force and oversaw the Enron Task Force. Before that, he worked in a variety of other Justice Department roles, including as a federal prosecutor in Atlanta.
Wray’s nomination will bring an end to a herky-jerky search that has seen several contenders take their own names out of the running.
Documentary filmmaker and liberal activist Michael Moore launched a website called “TrumpiLeaks” Tuesday to allow whistleblowers to securely leak information to him about President Donald Trump and his administration.
“Patriotic Americans in government, law enforcement or the private sector with knowledge of crimes, breaches of public trust and misconduct committed by Donald J. Trump and his associates are needed to blow the whistle in the name of protecting the United States of America from tyranny,” Moore wrote in an open letter on the Huffington Post.
“I know this is risky. I knew we may get in trouble. But too much is at stake to play it safe,” Moore wrote.
Moore, 63, said that while no digital communication was 100 percent secure, he and his team had used the most secure technology possible to protect anonymity.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered to resign at one point in recent months after his relationship with President Donald Trump grew increasingly tense, according to two people close to the White House.
The strain between the two began after Sessions recused himself in March from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Sessions announced his recusal shortly after he became attorney general and a day after The Washington Post revealed that he had twice met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign and did not disclose that fact to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his January confirmation hearing.
It is unclear when Sessions offered to resign, and Trump refused the offer.
Attackers raided Iran’s parliament and set off a suicide bomb at the Mausoleum of Ayatollah Khomeini in Tehran Wednesday, killing up to seven people in a twin assault at the heart of the Islamic Republic, Iranian media reported.
The Iranian Intelligence Ministry said security forces had arrested a “terrorist team” planning a third attack, without giving further details.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement. If confirmed, they would be the first assaults by the hardline Sunni Muslim group inside the Shiite Muslim country.
Tyrannosaurus rex was an odd animal, a predator with teeth the size of bananas, a massive head and tiny arms. Given that many dinosaurs had feathers, could T. rex have been even weirder — a giant carnivore with a downy coat?
A new study in the journal Biology Letters crushes any tyrant chicken dreams: T. rex was covered in scales. The new research “shows without question that T. rex had scaly skin,” study author Phil Bell, a paleontologist at Australia’s University of New England, said in an email to The Washington Post.
Comedian Bill Cosby was forced to come face-to-face Tuesday afternoon with the woman who says he took advantage of his role as her mentor, tricking her into taking a powerful drug so that he could sexually pleasure himself.
The announcement that Cosby’s main accuser, Andrea Constand, would be called to the witness stand at his sexual-assault trial sent a jolt through the jammed courtroom here. It signaled the marquee moment so far in a trial that began Monday and has helped to redefine the legacy of an entertainment legend.
Constand, who knew Cosby from her role as a women’s basketball official at Temple University, his alma mater, testified in a voice that cracked with emotion, particularly when she walked through the details of the night at the entertainer’s suburban Philadelphia estate where she says Cosby assaulted her.
President Donald Trump took sides in a deep rift in the Arab world on Tuesday, praising Middle East countries’ actions against American ally Qatar over Islamist militants even though the tiny Gulf state hosts the largest U.S. air base in the region.
Trump wrote on Twitter that his recent trip to the Middle East was “already paying off” and cast an anti-Islamist speech he made in Saudi Arabia as the inspiration for a decision by Arab powers to sever ties with Qatar in protest at what they say is the Gulf nation’s support for terrorism.
“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!” Trump wrote on Twitter.
Qatar vehemently denies the accusations.
The Portland City Council is considering new rules that would add restrictions to golf cart usage on the Casco Bay islands, according to Portland television station and BDN media partner WGME, CBS 13.
Under the proposed ordinance language, people will need a driver’s license to drive golf carts on the islands, and won’t be allowed to have passengers on their laps while in motion, among other new guidelines.
On Peaks Island, in particular, the population swells from 860 to more than 4,000 on a given summer weekends, when as many as a dozen weddings might be scheduled for various places on the scenic island.
And the reckless behavior of many of those wedding guests is a major factor behind the crackdown. Islanders told WGME and other media outlets that intoxicated wedding guests and drivers with young children on their laps raise safety concerns.
The state should take control of Maine’s national monument — regardless of whether President Donald Trump rescinds the executive order that created it, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin said Tuesday.
Poliquin responded to a request from U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke with a three-page letter reiterating his opposition to the controversial Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.
Poliquin did not recommend reversing President Barack Obama’s executive order creating the monument in August 2016, but he did say that Mainers would be the best managers of the 87,562 acres the family of Burt’s Bees entrepreneur Roxanne Quimby gave to the nation.
The city on Tuesday started knocking down Pickering Square’s brick and cement fountain after shutting off the water last summer due to people throwing trash and bathing in it.
City officials are calling the fountain’s removal a short-term safety improvement while they map out ways to overhaul Pickering Square, the downtown brick-covered area next to the city’s bus depot and parking garage.
“It wasn’t going to get used anymore,” Public Works Director Dana Wardwell said. “People could get hurt down there when they are climbing on it. We’re just getting rid of it.”
A bill meant to encourage calling emergency workers for drug overdose victims died Tuesday when the House of Representatives upheld Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of the measure.
LePage argued in his veto letter that putting drug users in contact with the criminal justice system could help them by qualifying them for programs such as drug court or medical treatment.
“This bill and those like it that propose immunity for drug users make me wonder, ‘What’s next?’” LePage wrote. “Would these people actually let their friends die in order to avoid a misdemeanor offense that probably would go unprosecuted anyway? I believe the answer to this question would be no.”
An Orrington man is dead after a lengthy standoff with police Tuesday, according to media reports.
Police confirmed the suspect was dead just after 2 a.m. Wednesday, more than 12 hours after the standoff started, according to WLBZ2.
Penobscot County sheriff’s deputies were negotiating with the man who barricaded himself in his home well into the night.
Living and events
America’s love affair with backyard chickens is a tad too intimate, and it’s making some of us sick.
Just this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, eight separate salmonella outbreaks linked to contact with pet poultry have taken place in the United States, sickening more than 370 people in 47 states and hospitalizing 71.
No one has died in 2017 – yet. In 2016, a record 895 people who consorted with fowl came down with the nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever that characterize this infection, and three of them did not survive.
So the CDC is once again telling flock owners to hold back on the heavy petting.
The National Weather Service is offering a training session on June 7 for anyone interested in volunteering to become a Skywarn severe weather spotter.
Skywarn spotters are trained to provide information about all types of weather hazards, but their main function is to identify and describe severe local storms ranging from damaging winds and tornadoes to large hail and flooding.
The training is free and starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Penobscot County Emergency Management Agency, located next to the post office at 69 Hammond St. in Bangor.
The 2017 Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, scheduled for June 24, has several open slots remaining for bakers. This year, a couple of local bakers who have been with the festival since its inception were not able to make it due to prior commitments, leaving space for new talent to register.
Anyone interested in a booth at the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival should visit mainewhoopiepiefestival.com/bakers for information as soon as possible.
Last year, Dover-Foxcroft saw nearly 10,000 visitors come through the gates. For those who register as vendors or bakers, the day promises success.
Festival organizers are always on the lookout for volunteers, and this year is no different. Help is needed at the festival gates, to sell merchandise and to offer support to our vendors.
Every Tuesday in June from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. the Abbe Museum at Sieur de Monts is hosting an archaeologist-led program where you can learn about Wabanaki material culture and the archaeological record in Maine.
This is a hands-on activity where you can touch artifacts and replicas while learning about Wabanaki cultural adaptations over the past 12,000 years.
This is a drop-in event so there’s no registration required!
The Northeast Wind Resource Center, in partnership with Clean Energy Group, E2Tech, and the Maine Ocean and Wind Industry Initiative, is hosting a forum 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 9 to discuss onshore and offshore wind power on a national, regional, and state level.
The No. 1 pollutant in Maine’s lakes is soil eroding from shorelines, roads, yards, and construction sites.
Join us for a day of service at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery and help restore the shore and protect the waters of Alamoosook Lake. Volunteers will gather 9 a.m. to noon June 10 at the hatchery to plant native shrubs, improve beach access, and place interpretive signs along the shoreline.
The struggles of children and families in Uganda will be the topic for a talk at 7 p.m. June 12 at the Wilson Museum’s Hutchins Education Center in Castine.
John Shiundu, director of the Kidron Valley Children’s Home and Boarding School in Jinja, Uganda, will speak about adoption and the fate of unadoptable children in African orphanages, the Ugandan dowry system and its challenges, the plight of prison inmates, and the work he and his wife are doing to empower women and families with small home businesses — including chicken farming and hair care training. His organization also runs a clinic for malaria, childbirth, and emergency care.
Joining Shiundu will be two young Ugandan-born children who have recently been adopted into a family from the local area.
The Old Town Public Library, in partnership with the Bangor Public Health and Community Services, will be hosting a seminar entitled “Be a Life Saver” from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. June 21.
Heath Myers, an Overdose Prevention Coordinator with Bangor Public Health and Community Services will discuss overdose symptoms and risk factors, how to react to an overdose, medication safety, naloxone, and treatment and recovery.
Free take-home materials will be provided.
The annual S.W. Collins 5K Road & Fun race will be held June 25.
Registration is from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at S.W. Collins Co. Caribou Yard. The 5K starts at 10:00 a.m., walkers start at 9:45 a.m., and kids Fun Run starts at 9:00 a.m.
Registration is $13 for adults, and the fee for the kids fun run is by donation. All proceeds will go to the Caribou Athletics Department.
Bill Cobb, director of the Maine chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association, will give a presentation about several historic fire towers Down East, including the much beloved Grand Lake Stream tower that sits atop Indian Hill. The tower was built in 1934, and it is currently the oldest standing, enclosed wooden tower in Maine, and potentially New England. Following the presentation, we will take a group walk up to the GLS Tower to examine the site.
The talk will be 5 to 7:30 p.m. June 30 at the Grand Lake Stream School Building, 15 Water St., in Grand Lake Stream.
Performing for audiences around the world and in their own backyard in Maine, the 195th Army Band’s Concert Band is carrying on a proud tradition of military bands past and present by presenting free patriotic public performances.
The band will perform 6:30 to 8 p.m. July 6 at Riverfront Park, North Main Street, in Old Town.
Help-wanted signs are popping up all over Maine, as they typically do this time of year. But job recruiters say Maine’s low unemployment rate combined with a record tourism season last year, an aging workforce and a cap on certain types of foreign workers are making the labor gap more challenging than ever for some employers.
The Maine House voted 114-31 Tuesday to overturn Gov. Paul LePage’s veto of a bill to add small liquor bottles known as nips to Maine’s bottle redemption program.
LePage suggested in his veto letter that to help with the littering problem identified by proponents of the bill, Maine should increase and enforce littering penalties or stop the sale of nips in Maine altogether.
“If the Legislature is really concerned about litter, delisting nips will ensure that they are not sold in Maine, and fewer of them end up as litter,” LePage said in a written statement last month.
All three proposals are currently before lawmakers, who are facing a July 1 deadline to have a new biennial budget in place.
Their work will be made easier if they maintain focus on the job voters gave them — to increase state education spending.
Good teachers make an enormous difference in the lives of students. Yet policy makers and school reformers have given short shrift to what teachers can tell them about the complexity of student learning and the craft of teaching. Perhaps if we were to listen to teachers more, we would make fewer policy blunders.
A curious thing happened on President Donald Trump’s way out of the Paris climate accord. American mayors, governors, corporate leaders and others immediately committed to meeting the agreement’s terms, anyway.
All politics is local, they say, and personal responsibility begins at home.