Ticks that can make you allergic to red meat are spreading

Good morning, Maine. Here is your morning briefing.


The highs will be in the mid 70s, with a mix of sun and clouds. There is a chance for afternoon thunderstorms. Check your local forecast here.

National and international headline

Ticks that can make you allergic to red meat are spreading

The recently discovered Bourbon virus and Heartland virus are two more reasons to avoid ticks. 
Dreamstime | TNS

As if there weren’t enough reasons to avoid ticks, a symptom can develop in which a bite from a certain kind of tick causes an allergic reaction to red meat.

[Mainers on social media are reporting a bad year for ticks]

A bite from the lone star tick, prevalent across the eastern half of the United States, can cause severe symptoms to develop after eating mammalian meat such as pork, beef and lamb. Symptom include hives, shortness of breath and can lead to an anaphylactic reaction. A bite can even be fatal, according to Ronald Saff, an allergist from Tallahassee, Florida.

[Everything you thought you knew about Lyme disease is wrong]

Saff said the ticks are spreading, and global warming is contributing. Once confined to southeast and eastern states, they are spreading northward and westward.

“They like nice warm environments,” he said. “As the U.S. gets warmer, we anticipate that the tick will migrate to other states.”

Once inflicted with the condition, an allergic reaction can develop after just a single bite of meat.

Collins, King won’t support Senate bill to replace Obamacare

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, speaks to reporters after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of legislation that would replace Obamacare on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 22, 2017.

Senate Republicans’ bill to erase major parts of the Affordable Care Act would cause an estimated 22 million more Americans to be uninsured in the coming decade – about 1 million fewer than similar legislation recently passed by the House, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The forecast issued Monday by Congress’ nonpartisan budget scorekeepers also estimates that the Senate measure, drafted in secret mainly by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and aides, would reduce federal spending by $321 billion by 2026 – compared with $119 billion for the House’s version.

Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Monday evening she would vote against a motion to proceed on the bill, saying the bill “doesn’t fix ACA problems for rural Maine.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, called the score “further proof that this bill will do more harm than good.”

White House says Syria’s Assad preparing another chemical attack

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency, in Damascus, Syria, March 30, 2016.

The White House issued an ominous warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday night, pledging his regime would pay a “heavy price” if it carried out another chemical attack this year.

In a statement, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the United States detected evidence of preparations for a chemical attack, similar to the preparations that occurred before an attack in April.

“The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children,” Spicer said in a statement.

“As we have previously stated, the United States is in Syria to eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” he continued. “If, however, Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

Emmett Till historical marker destroyed by vandals – again

Emmett Till
Image Editor | Flickr

In October, a Mississippi historical marker for Emmett Till was riddled with bullet holes in a savage act of vandalism.

Now, less than a year later, a second state historical marker has been defaced, destroying historical information about the black teenager whose name became a civil rights rallying cry after he was kidnapped and murdered in 1955, according to the Associated Press.

“Who knows what motivates people to do this?” Allan Hammons, the owner of a public relations firm that produced the sign located in Money, Mississippi. “Vandals have been around since the beginning of time.”

House Ethics Committee is reviewing allegations against three Democrats

Congressman John Conyers, D-Michigan, asks questions during a hearing of the judiciary subcommittee on crime, terrorism, homeland security and investigations on Feb. 27, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The House Ethics Committee has acknowledged it is investigating Reps. Ben Ray Lujan, Conyers and House staffer Michael Collins.
Astrid Riecken | TNS

The House Ethics Committee said Monday it is reviewing charges lodged against two high-profile Democratic lawmakers and a senior Democratic aide.

The lawmakers facing an ethics review are Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and the longest-serving sitting House member, and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-New Mexico, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The staffer is Michael Collins, chief of staff to Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia.

Statements released Monday by the Ethics Committee did not detail the allegations against the three men, which were forwarded to the committee by the independent Office of Congressional Ethics based on a “substantial reason to believe” a violation has occurred.

Pentagon may deport some immigrants it promised citizenship

The Pentagon is considering a plan to cancel enlistment contracts for 1,000 foreign-born recruits without legal immigration status, knowingly exposing them to deportation, a Defense Department memo shows.

The undated action memo, prepared for Defense Secretary Jim Mattis by personnel and intelligence officials at the Pentagon and obtained by The Washington Post, describes potential security threats of immigrants recruited in a program designed to award fast-tracked citizenship in exchange for urgently needed medical and language skills.

Additionally, 4,100 troops – most of whom are naturalized citizens – may face “enhanced screening,” though the Pentagon voiced concern on how to navigate “significant legal constraints” of “continuous monitoring” of citizens without cause, according to the memo.

Judge may face recall over short jail sentence in Stanford sex-assault case

Fifty California residents have filed a petition to recall the California judge who drew national criticism for issuing a short jail sentence to Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus.

The effort to recall Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky — the first official move to get him off the bench since Turner’s sentencing in June 2016 — has garnered endorsements from members of Congress, national women’s rights organizations and leaders in Silicon Valley. They argue Persky has favored defendants in sexual assault cases and should be held to account for the imbalance.

“Today we take the first step,” Michele Landis Dauber, a Stanford law professor who is leading the recall committee seeking Persky’s removal, said Monday after filing the petition. “Judge Persky has a long history of leniency in cases involving sexual assault. Here in Silicon Valley, women have had enough.”

Local headlines

Reported sighting of great white shark clears Maine beach

Passengers and crew aboard a tour boat operating out of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, just across the Canadian border from Maine, spotted a great white shark in Passamaquoddy Bay on July 21, 2014.
Courtesy of Nick Hawkins

A reported sighting of a great white shark off the coast of Maine on Sunday led police to call swimmers out of the water in Wells, according to Portland television station WCSH.

Wells police Sgt. Chad Arrowsmith told the station a man on a paddleboat said he saw what he believed to be a 12-foot great white shark in the water between Wells Beach and North Beach just after 1 p.m., and authorities cleared the water as a precaution.

Three boys accused of setting fire to Sanford mill

The State Fire Marshal’s Office says three Sanford boys have been charged with arson in connection with the fire that destroyed the Stenton Trust Mill in Sanford on Friday.

The boys, a 12-year-old and two 13-year-olds, were arrested Sunday and taken to the Long Creek juvenile detention facility in South Portland early Monday morning.

Immigrant leaders in Maine say court travel ban ruling ‘still religious discrimination’

Children and teenagers seeking to become United States citizens recite the Oath of Allegiance at the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine in Portland in a 2011 file photo.
Seth Koenig | BDN

Leaders in Maine’s immigrant communities said that in its Monday ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court left President Donald Trump too much authority to block entry by Muslims and played into the recruitment narrative of religious extremists, who say the country is anti-Muslim.

Trump is proposing to at least temporarily block travel to the U.S. from six mostly Muslim countries — Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — as well as prevent refugees from entering the country.

“We do disagree with the court decision, because we feel it’s still religious discrimination,” said Elmuatz Abdelrahim, co-founder and officer of the Lewiston-based New Mainers Alliance, a U.S. citizen who was born in Sudan.

As LePage shutdown threat looms, budget deal eludes Maine lawmakers

Gabor Degre | BDN

Top legislative Democrats negotiating Maine’s stalled two-year budget with Gov. Paul LePage reported mixed results from their meetings on Monday, but it’s unclear whether a deal will be reached to avoid a state shutdown on Saturday.

LePage has threatened to wait the full 10 days allowed by law before signing or vetoing a budget, so even if legislators strike a deal, Maine could see its first state government shutdown since 1991 if that deal does not satisfy the Republican governor.

Talks stayed mostly in a holding pattern on Monday, when the governor’s staff wasn’t discussing his role in negotiations. However, LePage will be in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with President Donald Trump on energy issues, according to Politico.

Three legislative leaders said they expect to vote on a budget by week’s end, but there’s no agreement on a package to win the two-thirds support in both chambers required to enact a budget by Saturday.

Maine man gets three days in jail for shooting seal

A Warren man pleaded guilty on Monday to shooting a seal off the coast of Acadia National Park last fall, according to federal prosecutors.

Joseph A. Martin, 54, was sentenced to serve three days behind bars and was ordered by federal Magistrate Judge John C. Nivison to pay a $1,000 fine for shooting the animal, which is protected by the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Living and events

University of Maine scientists find art in the farthest corners of earth

Glacier National Park, Montana
Carl Tugend | University of Maine

Three years ago, Gardiner native Walter Beckwith was working at a dig at a very old, very high altitude archaeological site in southern Peru, searching for insights into the people who lived there millennia ago, when someone found an obsidian projectile point.

Beckwith, who was working on his master’s degree in climate studies from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, got out his camera and took a photo of the point, its shine and sharp edges juxtaposed against the muddy hand of the person holding it. It’s a powerful image, and one that is now part of the “Art of Climate Science” exhibit of photography and artwork that is on display at the University of Maine’s Hutchinson Center in Belfast through the end of September.

Layers in Time: Hands-on Exploration of Wabanaki Life and Culture Through the Ages

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!

Panel discussion on ‘Mountain Lions in Maine’ 

BookSpeak, a literary forum based in Damariscotta, will hold a panel discussion by scientists and environmental writers titled “Mountain Lions in Maine: Rewilding the Maine Woods” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 28, in the Darrows Barn at Damariscotta River Association’s Round Top Farm, 3 Round Top Lane.

Rt. 17 Ramblers to hold free concert at Rockport Masonic Center

The Rt. 17 Ramblers featuring Rosey Gerry are on tap and will play a free lawn concert at the Rockport Masonic Center from 6 to 7 p.m. June 28. The event is free to the public with pass the hat donations taken for the band. You are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the summer night and music.

History of Maine fire towers

Collin Brown

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.

195th Army Band to play Old Town concert series

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.

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.

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.

Business headlines

‘Very credible’ study on $15 minimum wage has bad news for liberals

Mike Goodman, of Madison, Wisconsin, joins anti-Trump activists during a “March on McDonald’s” for an increase in the minimum wage, in Chicago, May 23, 2017.

When Seattle officials voted three years ago to incrementally boost the city’s minimum wage up to $15 per hour, they hoped to improve the lives of low-income workers. Yet according to a major new study that could force economists to reassess past research on the issue, the hike has had the opposite effect.

The city is gradually increasing the hourly minimum to $15 over several years. Already, though, some employers have not been able to afford the increased minimums. They’ve cut their payrolls, putting off new hiring, reducing hours or letting their workers go, the study found.

The costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one, according to the study, conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city. The study, published as a working paper Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, has not yet been peer reviewed.

On the whole, the study estimates, the average low-wage worker in the city lost $125 per month because of the hike in the minimum.

Bangor Savings Bank moving to new headquarters on Bangor waterfront

A rendering of a proposed Bangor Savings Bank building at 20 South St., part of the bank’s planned Bangor waterfront corporate headquarters campus.
Bangor Savings Bank

Bangor Savings Bank’s new headquarters will will alleviate staff crowding and bring foot traffic to Bangor’s waterfront, the company’s CEO and president said Monday.

“We’re at the point where we have people in halls and closets and people sharing desks,” said Bob Montgomery-Rice. “Activity has been void [at the waterfront] for a long time and this will bring that there.”

The Bangor-based bank next year plans to move about 400 employees from its corporate headquarters at 99 Franklin St. — as well as a pair of Maine Avenue locations, and its State Street branch — to its new multimillion dollar campus along Main, South, Summer, and Railroad Streets.

For July 4 driving, Maine gas prices are the lowest they’ve been in years

Customers pump gas at a Brewer gas station in April 2016.
Linda Coan O’Kresik | BDN

If you’re planning to travel by car this Fourth of July weekend, you’re in luck — gas prices are down.

In Maine, the price of gas is down 3.5 cents to $2.23 a gallon.

Bangor Savings credits southern expansion, improving economy for record profits

An improving economy and continuing southern expansion helped Bangor Savings Bank rack up record profits for the fiscal year it ended in March.

The bank took in about $25 million in net income for the year, an 8.4 increase over the previous year. CEO Bob Montgomery-Rice said in an interview Monday that the bank’s mortgage portfolio and payroll servicing business have fueled much of that growth.

US excludes three Canadian provinces from softwood lumber probe

The Commerce Department said on Monday it had made a preliminary decision to exclude three of Canada’s Atlantic provinces from a U.S. investigation into whether Canada is dumping or subsidizing exports of softwood lumber.

The decision to exclude Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island follows a preliminary finding by the department in April that Canada subsidizes its softwood lumber exports, which prompted the United States to slap on countervailing duties of 20 percent.

In a statement announcing the latest decision, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said those duties would still be collected pending a final determination.

Opinion headlines

The Senate would be wise to ‘first, do no harm’ before passing its health care bill

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is surrounded by reporters as he walks to the Senate floor of the U.S. Capitol after unveiling a draft bill on healthcare in Washington, June 22, 2017.

Delivering affordable, high-quality health care is challenging in any setting these days. Across our industry, providers are challenged with deploying the most current technology and care models, recruiting talented staff and making it all work within a payment system often at odds with delivering the best care.

These difficulties are further magnified in rural communities, particularly those that are economically stressed.

It’s alarming that these same rural areas stand to lose the most, should the Affordable Care Act be repealed without an adequate replacement.

House Republicans want us to turn our backs on asylum seekers. That undermines our economy.

George Danby | BDN

The House Republicans, mirroring Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed budget, want to cut $5 million from General Assistance and deny aid to asylum seekers. These are people who are here legally, who want to be part of our community and who want to work and pay taxes but are caught in a federal immigration impasse that limits their opportunity in the short term.

Asylum seekers and some other immigrants in the country legally — repeat, legally — are barred from working for at least six months while their paperwork is processed by the federal government.

It’s an impossible trap. During the time they’re stuck in this bureaucratic limbo, these new arrivals have no way to make ends meet and provide for their families. If they work and get caught, they put their asylum application at risk. It’s high stakes for good people who have escaped violence and persecution, who are hoping only for safety and a better life in their new communities.

America is on its way to divorce court

Members of the Republican team pray before the Democrats and Republicans face off in the annual Congressional Baseball Game at Nationals Park in Washington, June 15, 2017.

There is a place for contempt in our public discourse. We should have contempt for a regime in North Korea that brutalized a young American student named Otto Warmbier. We should have contempt for a regime in Syria that uses poison gas to massacre innocent men, women and children. We should have contempt for Islamic State terrorists who behead Americans, burn people alive in cages and systematically rape Yazidi girls.

But we should not have contempt for each other.

Yet, we do.