Feds step up probe of land deal pushed by the wife of Bernie Sanders

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National and international

Federal prosecutors step up probe of land deal pushed by the wife of Bernie Sanders

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and his wife, Jane, attend the White House Correspondents’ Association annual dinner in Washington, April 30, 2016.

federal investigation into a land deal led by Jane Sanders, the wife and political adviser of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, has accelerated in recent months — with prosecutors hauling off more than a dozen boxes of records from the Vermont college she once ran and calling a state official to testify before a grand jury, according to interviews and documents.

A half-dozen people said in interviews in recent days that they had been contacted by the FBI or federal prosecutors, and former college trustees told The Washington Post that lawyers representing Jane Sanders had interviewed them to learn what potential witnesses might tell the government.

The questions from government investigators, as described by those who were interviewed or received subpoenas for documents, suggest the investigation is focused on Jane Sanders and alleged bank fraud, and not on her husband. But the inquiry could nonetheless create a political liability for the senator, who was a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and is the progressive movement’s most popular leader.

Marine Corps cargo aircraft crashes in Mississippi killing several crew

A Marine Corps cargo plane often used for hauling fuel and supplies crashed in western Mississippi Monday night, killing several crew members aboard, local news reports said.

In a brief statement, the Marines said a “KC-130 experienced a mishap the evening of July 10.” No other information was provided.

In an email, Marine Corps spokeswoman Capt. Sarah Burns confirmed the statement correlated to the crash in Mississippi.

Pentagon to spend $5.6 billion on 74 more F-35 Joint Strike Fighter planes

A Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is pictured with the space shuttle Endeavour mounted atop its 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) at the 461st Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) JSF Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base, California, Sept. 20, 2012.

The Defense Department has announced it is paying $5.57 billion to expand the U.S. military’s arsenal of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters by 74.

The contract action is seen as an early stamp of progress for the next “lot” of planes, which the Defense Department Joint Program Office and defense manufacturer Lockheed Martin are negotiating. Joint Program Office spokesman Joe DellaVedova said the round of planes is set to include 50 planes sold to foreign governments, bringing the total to 141 planes in this sales lot.

“We appreciate the actions taken by the JPO to ensure delivery of F-35s to our warfighter customers,” Lockheed Martin said in a statement.

US soldier arrested in terrorism probe, charged with providing support to Islamic State

A U.S. soldier in Hawaii has been arrested on charges he sought to provide training and classified military secrets to Islamic State, officials announced Monday.

FBI spokesman Arnold Laanui confirmed that FBI agents arrested Ikaika Kang Saturday night, and he was due to make a brief appearance in federal court in Hawaii later Monday.

The FBI affidavit charges that Kang tried to help Islamic State “by providing classified military documents and other sensitive but unclassified military documents to persons he believed would pass the documents to ISIS.”

Overseas students would face scrutiny under Homeland proposal

Behnam Partopour, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute student from Iran, is greeted by his sister Bahar (left) at Logan Airport after he cleared U.S. customs and immigration on an F1 student visa in Boston, Feb. 3, 2017.

Senior officials at the Department of Homeland Security are floating a proposal that would require foreign students to re-apply for permission to stay in the United States every year, a controversial move that would create new costs and paperwork for thousands of visa holders from China, India and other nations, according to two federal officials with direct knowledge of the discussions.

Trump’s election panel puts hold on voter data request

President Donald Trump waves as he returns to the White House in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, July 8, 2017.
Olivier Douliery | TNS

President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate possible election fraud on Monday put a freeze on its effort to collect sensitive voter data from states in the face of growing legal challenges.

In an email, the panel’s designated officer, Andrew Kossack, asked state elections officers to “hold on submitting any data,” the commission said in court filings.

Several state elections officials confirmed receiving a letter from the panel stating that it would provide further instructions after a federal judge had ruled on a complaint filed by a watchdog group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which is seeking a temporary restraining order.


Maine Attorney General Janet Mills will run for governor as Democrat

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.
Ashley L. Conti | BDN

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills ended months of speculation when she announced Monday that she will run for governor in 2018.

Mills said Maine is seeking a leader to help mend relationships in the state’s fractured political landscape and described herself as a problem-solver, not a partisan operative.

“I hear from people all across the state who really want leadership that unites people and doesn’t divide them,” Mills said by phone.“Government in our state is polarized and very hotly divided. The budget debacle of recent weeks is reflective of a failure of leadership at the top level.”

How Portland’s last ‘whorehouse riot’ got started

The last cannon ever fired at someone in Portland went off with a boom on Munjoy Hill in the middle of the 19th century. The stones packed inside it peppered the house of one Augustus King. He fired back with a gun of his own. Then all hell broke loose. It took the city militia to quell the riot that ensued.

That was in September, but the trouble had started two months earlier — 168 years ago this month, in July 1849.

Sen. Susan Collins wants chance to question Trump Jr. on meeting with Russians

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.

Maine’s senior senator is calling for Donald Trump Jr. to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee that’s probing possible collusion between the president’s campaign and Russia during last year’s election.

[MORE: Kremlin denies knowledge of Donald Trump Jr. meeting with Russian lawyer during 2016 campaign]

Susan Collins, R-Maine, told reporters Monday the panel “needs to interview him and others” who attended a meeting in June 2016 in Trump Tower, where a Russian lawyer sought to provide dirt on Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Maine girl, 11, who is missing lower spine, turns to social media for new kidney

Emily Pooler of Auburn in an undated photograph. Pooler is now 11 and needs a kidney transplant.
Alison Pooler via WGME

An 11-year-old Auburn girl has battled serious health problems all her life, including a rare condition in which she was born without part of her spine. But her current battle is perhaps the most urgent of them all.

“I’d be really happy if I could get a kidney from someone, so I could live longer,” young Emily Pooler told Portland’s WGME, CBS 13.

Pooler’s family was told by doctors three years ago that, in addition to 16 other medical conditions she’s been plagued with over her life, she now has stage four chronic kidney disease as well. Doctors said at the time she would need a new kidney in a year and a half.

Victims in Madison triple homicide shot in head, chest

Michael Spaulding (left) with his son, Michael J. Spaulding, 21, of Gorham. The elder Spaulding was one of three victims in a shooting in Madison.
Jennifer Parks

The victims in last week’s triple homicide in Madison all died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest, authorities said Monday.

Carroll Tuttle Jr., 51, fatally shot his wife, Lori Hayden, 52, and their 25-year-old son, Dustin Tuttle, at the couple’s 316 Russell Road home on July 5 before crossing the street to shoot Michael Spaulding, 57, police said.

When he returned home, he encountered his brother-in-law Harvey Austin, 57, of Skowhegan and shot him in the head just before police shot him dead.

Living and events

Bangor birth center puts women in control of their babies’ births

Chris Yentes (right) talks to Beatrix Cronin (center) and her husband Robert Cronin after their prenatal appoint at Holly No. 7 Birth Center and Family Health.
Gabor Degre | BDN

Beatrix Cronin is due to have her second child any day now. But she’s not prepping for a hospital visit.

Instead, on a recent Wednesday, she was looking for a lake to swim in, an exercise that helps pregnant women strengthen their pelvic floor for labor. And when her body tells her she’s going into labor, it won’t be a hospital that her husband, Robert, is putting into the GPS.

Rather Beatrix Cronin will be heading to the Holly No. 7 Birth and Family Health Center on Hammond Street, where midwife Chris Yentes will help her through her labor and delivery.

Pirate parley at Fort Knox

Leon Seymour

The Friends of Fort Knox and The Pirates of the Dark Rose crew would like you to join in a Pirate Parlay July 14-16 at Fort Knox on scenic Penobscot Bay on the Maine coast. Because of past years’ fun and skullduggery, this year the pirate festival at the Fort will be a whole weekend. Pirate Crews from up and down the East Coast will be meeting in a Pirate Parlay, and some will be sailing their pirate ships into cannon range of the Fort.

Jazz for Kids at the Blue Hill Public Library

The Blue Hill Public Library invites kids of all ages to a “Jazz for kids” concert by Fuchsia, a local jazz combo made up of recent George Stevens Academy alumni, at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 19.

This will be an interactive concert designed to introduce kids to jazz, improvisation, and interpreting jazz standards in a new way.

Film: ‘Something Good Will Come of This: A Maine Man’s Journey through the Opiate Epidemic

College of the Atlantic senior Ursa Beckford will host a screening of his film, “Something Good Will Come of This: A Maine Man’s Journey through the Opiate Epidemic,” at the Blue Hill Public Library at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmaker, Ursa Beckford, and the subject of the film, Mike Bills.

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.

Volunteers needed for 70th Maine Lobster Festival

The Maine Lobster Festival is looking for volunteers to help with this year’s festival to be held Aug. 2-6. It takes more than 1,300 volunteers to run the festival each year.

Volunteer jobs include everything from setting up and taking down tents, to taking tickets, or cooking the lobsters served to guests. Volunteers will receive an exclusive “volunteer” shirt and free admission the day you volunteer.

If you wish to sign up, fill out an Online Volunteer Form from our website, mainelobsterfestival.com/festival-info/volunteer, or print a paper volunteer form and mail it in. Be specific about which job you’d like to sign up for. If you have any questions, email volunteer@mainelobsterfestival.com.

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.

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.

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.


Electricity seller gives Maine government a deal while small customers pay above-market rates

George Danby | BDN

The electricity seller that’s charged Maine households at least $36 million above the standard rate is, at the same time, saving Maine government hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Electricity Maine since January has supplied a range of state government offices with power at 6.1 cents per kilowatt-hour, lower than the standard rates for customers of the state’s two major utilities.

Loss of anchor store isn’t sign of Maine Mall’s demise, official says

There are some changes coming to the Maine Mall, with big-box store Bon Ton closing next month.

There are some changes coming to the Maine Mall, with big-box store Bon Ton closing next month.

The exact plans for the space aren’t yet known, but the future of major department stores is uncertain.

The general manager of the Maine Mall said customers shouldn’t read too much into the closing of Bon Ton, but he did acknowledge the space may not be filled by another big-box store, especially when people can find almost anything online.

Consumer watchdog makes it easier to sue banks and other companies

The government’s consumer watchdog finalized a rule Monday that will make it easier for people to challenge financial companies in court.

Under the long-awaited rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, companies will be banned from using agreements that block consumers from joining group lawsuits. The rule also aims to increase awareness about how consumers fare when they go to arbitration, since companies will be required to report those outcomes to the agency.


Summer in Maine means houseguests, so remember the three-day rule

A dog gets up Saturday from a brief nap on the porch at Lincoln Cottage in in Bayside Village.
Abigail Curtis | BDN

For some, houseguests are a touch of heaven. For others, they are like the black flies that start in early June.

The worst is when they call from somewhere on Interstate 95 and say, “We’re on our way, and unfortunately we can only stay a week.” Some of them add, “And I’m sure you’ll understand that we have to bring the dogs.”

These can be casual acquaintances to whom you said thoughtlessly last winter that it would be nice to see them in Maine sometime.

Trump is leaving our ship of state rudderless, and the seas ahead look rough

George Danby | BDN

Americans have never liked diplomacy. The word was coined about 1800, and from the beginning, it has grated on American ears. Facing threats from established European powers as the War of 1812 loomed, town meetings in New England denounced the “diplomacy of courts,” forgetting too quickly it was the American envoys’ negotiations in Europe that helped secure independence.

The media fundamentally misunderstands conservatives on health care

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks to reporters about the Senate healthcare bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 29, 2017.

In small rural communities such as mine — places that largely supported Donald Trump for president but have higher-than-average uninsured populations — conflicting feelings about what to do about reforming health care run deep. There are divisions between health care providers and the populations they serve, and divisions even within individuals themselves, as an inherent anti-government political bent collides with real-world struggles to pay for medical needs.